Inside Vermont’s newest homeless shelter, the Holiday Inn - VT Digger

Once a high-end hotel with a popular lounge presided over by musician Goody Goodrow, the Holiday Inn in recent years has been overshadowed by the “new” Sheraton/Hilton across I-89. Now it’s serving the community as a temporary (?) shelter for Vermont’s homeless population.

"When Covid-19 hit Vermont, officials scrambled to get those residing in shelters into confined rooms to allow for social distancing. Isolation was impossible to achieve in cramped shelters, so hotels were the next best option to keep an outbreak from occurring among some of Vermont’s most vulnerable. And it worked. At the program’s peak, 2,000 Vermonters have been housed in hotels by the state. Only one person experiencing homelessness tested positive for the disease. None have died.

Now the state is attempting to figure out how to transition out the hundreds of people who have found respite in these hotel rooms. It’s a tricky maneuver exacerbated by the lack of affordable housing statewide. For the past three months, the Covid-19 hotel housing program has cost the state $13 million. After state officials asked for an additional $5.7 million to keep the program in place until at least September, paid out of the $1.25 billion the state received from the CARES Act, lawmakers last week approved funding for this and other housing efforts."

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