Warming shelter awaiting permits in Mo’Ville

Used with Permission from News & Citizen.

The Lamoille County Continuum of Care is seeking state funding and working on obtaining permits to establish a warming shelter and resource center on Harrel Street in Morrisville.

“The work of the Lamoille County Continuum of Care is essential to helping us understand the nature of our housing crisis and ensure that we leverage and coordinate all available resources,” says Capstone Community Action Executive Director Dan Hoxworth. “The Continuum has all the right partners at the table, and I’m confident that our collective effort will help many individuals and families find and retain safe shelter.”

The Lamoille County Continuum of Care is a collective of community-based organizations working collaboratively to assess housing needs and implement strategies to help residents secure housing that is safe, decent and affordable. Partners in this program include Capstone Community Action, Lamoille County Mental Health, Community Health Services of Lamoille County, Lamoille Family Center, St. John’s in the Mountains Episcopal Church in Stowe, United Way of Lamoille Valley, Lamoille Restorative Center, Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, Clarina Howard Nichols Center, the Vermont Center for Independent Living, and the Vermont Department for Children and Families.

Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Morrisville is also participating in the conversations.

In Lamoille County, temporary warming shelter resources are limited and available primarily for those who are victims of domestic violence. In the past, the homeless residents of Lamoille County have either traveled to Washington or Chittenden counties in a crisis, providing beds were available, or they accessed limited hotels and motels in the area with emergency General Assistance (GA) funds from the state. This year the state is making notable changes in how it distributes and manages GA funds in order to support local communities in addressing emergency shelter needs.
Continuum members have identified the need for a warming shelter and resource center in Lamoille County to help residents who are experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness. With Capstone as a lead agency, the continuum is planning to submit a funding request to the State to support this community resource.

“We want people to know that this isn’t solely a warming shelter,” said Pastor at St. John’s in the Mountains Episcopal Church Rick Swanson. “Patchworks Place is a place where people can patch their lives together with dignity, and move from homelessness and poverty to housing.”

As summer turns to fall, many Vermonters are planning for the long winter season ahead. Cord word should be ordered and stacked, furnaces cleaned; etc. But for those who are homeless or at great risk of becoming so, the looming cold temperatures and inclement weather pose much bigger challenges.

The property for Patchworks Place is owned by Demars Properties, LLC, and Sunny Demars recently went to Zoning and Planning officer Todd Thomas to request a permit for a 12-bed facility on the CCV campus in the same building as the food bank. Thomas has asked the Development Review Board to add the warming shelter to its agenda on either Oct. 9 or Oct. 22, and expects it will be on the Oct. 22 agenda.

If passed, Demars will have to put the entire building on the village sewage system to accommodate the beds, and has agreed to pay the costs. According to Thomas, putting the building onto the village sewerage system will benefit Morrisville Water & Light, as the building is currently on its own septic.

The State of Vermont will be sending out a notice of available GA housing funds in early October, and Capstone will apply for funding on behalf of the Lamoille County Continuum of Care.