WESTMINSTER, Vt. – Homelessness, or the imminent threat of homelessness, is a persistent problem affecting hundreds of area households annually, yet the funding required to address it doesn’t come close to matching the need. Affordable housing is scarce, and housing costs routinely far exceed the recommended 30 percent of income for many Windham and Windsor counties households, putting pressure on scarce resources and leading to a housing crisis for many. SEVCA is currently seeking private donations for its eviction-prevention and rehousing work, as most of this year’s program funding has been exhausted.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, from 2007–2017 in Vermont, the number of severely cost-burdened households (paying over 50 percent of their income on housing) increased by 28 percent, coinciding with an 18 percent increase in homelessness over the period (including a 21 percent increase in family homelessness and a 47 percent increase in homelessness among veterans). The most recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (2018) found Vermont to have the sixth most expensive housing in non-metro areas in the nation; and the fifth highest gap in the nation between the average renter wage and the “Housing Wage” – the hourly wage needed to rent affordably.
SEVCA helps rehouse or prevent homelessness for over 400 Windham and Windsor counties households annually through a combination of private and public resources, providing crisis intervention, counseling, case management, and financial assistance to help them secure or maintain a safe, affordable place to live. The organization also provides budget counseling and follow-up services to improve the financial stability of these low-income households, and works closely with local coalitions of service providers to effectively coordinate services.
Donations from the public, businesses, and other non-governmental sources are critically important because they give SEVCA the flexibility to meet the complex needs of those who might not qualify for help from more restrictive funding sources. To donate to SEVCA’s Housing Assistance Fund, used exclusively to provide direct assistance to households at risk of, or already experiencing, homelessness, visit www.sevca.org and click on the DONATE button, or send checks to SEVCA Housing Assistance, 91 Buck Dr., Westminster, VT 05158. For more information about donating, contact Becky Himlin, director of Planning and Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.