This Issue Update newsletter is part of a series that provides more information on each priority issue on the Alliance's 2023 Legislative Agenda. The Legislative Agenda is crafted annually in partnership with early childhood organizations that are advancing legislative policy solutions related to health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education. The nine priority issues were selected by the Alliance's 21 member Steering Committee.

**Note that although we are using a Zoom Event Registration Platform for registration this year, ECDL is entirely IN-PERSON in Montpelier! We want to be prepared in case we have to make a last-minute switch to a virtual conference if the public health situation changes before March.

Increase Access to Safe, Stable, and Affordable Housing for all Children

Safe, stable, and affordable housing is both a key social determinant of health and essential to children’s well-being and success. Housing instability, homelessness, and unsafe housing contribute to childhood trauma, risk, and negative outcomes.

Increasing state investments in affordable housing, reducing homelessness, and improving the health and safety of rental housing are critical to improving children’s outcomes.

The Alliance supports the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC) in securing full statutory funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB); promoting continued state investments in programs to reduce homelessness and housing insecurity; ensuring that the General Assistance (GA) Emergency Housing Program continues to serve Vermont children and families effectively; and improving the health and safety of the state’s rental housing stock.

The FY23 Budget Adjustment as passed by the House includes $3 million for housing vouchers that would help to house families experiencing homelessness, $5 million for the Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP) to improve existing rental units, $50 million to the VHCB to build new affordable housing units, and $21 million to extend emergency housing for individuals currently being housed in federally funded transitional housing that will end at the end of March and in emergency housing under the adverse weather policy. The Senate is currently considering a version of the Budget Adjustment that includes most of these proposals, but has only $25 million for VHCB and $18.5 million for the emergency housing extension. A conference committee will work out the differences between the House and Senate recommendations.

The Governor’s Recommended FY24 Budget includes funding to continue several key housing initiatives including $15 million for VHIP rental rehabilitation, $24 million for VHCB for new affordable housing, $26 million for emergency housing, and $4 million for emergency shelter maintenance and expansion. VAHC believes that these proposals are insufficient to address the state’s crisis of housing and homelessness and has called for greater investments in permanent, affordable housing.

While the ultimate solution to homelessness is more affordable housing, there is also a need to ensure that people experiencing homelessness remain sheltered while these units are developed. To that end, VAHC developed the “Bridges to Housing: Accelerating Progress on Homelessness” proposal, which recognizes the need for additional emergency housing funding in FY24 beyond what was included in the Governor’s proposals. The House Human Services and General and Housing Committees are developing recommendations for the FY24 Budget that will hopefully go further to ensure that Vermonters do not go unhoused while we address the current housing crisis.

Meanwhile, a number of bills that look at policies to enable development of affordable housing and/or eliminate barriers to development of affordable housing are being considered in both the Senate and the House.


Data and Talking Points

  • Vermont currently has the second highest per capita rate of homelessness in the U.S. behind only California.
  • Vermont has a severe and protracted housing shortage – our vacancy for multi-family housing has ranged from 1% to 2% statewide for many years.
  • Strategic investments in housing, financial supports, and services help reduce and prevent homelessness; improve the lives of children, families, and vulnerable Vermonters; improve their physical and mental well-being; and improve their chances to succeed and live independent lives – all while building strong, healthy communities.
  • Women who are homeless while pregnant are 50 percent more likely to have a low-birth weight baby and more than 30 percent more likely to have a preterm delivery than women who were not homeless while pregnant. 



Lead Organization

Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition

The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC) is committed to ensuring all Vermonters have decent, safe and affordable housing. They are not a housing provider, but rather a coalition of over 90 members who work together to increase access to safe, decent, affordable housing in Vermont. Our primary focus is education, advocacy, and outreach.

The coalition represents much of Vermont’s affordable housing landscape. This includes non-profit affordable housing developers, community land trusts, housing and homeless advocacy groups, public housing authorities, regional planners, economic service providers, funders, state agencies, and others. VAHC advocates for affordable housing interests and the interests of low-income Vermonters at the state and federal levels.



Resources and Advocacy Tools


The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a statewide coalition formed in 2000 of early childhood professionals, parents, organizations, businesses, and strategic partners committed to improving public policies that impact young children between birth and age eight in the areas of health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education.

The Alliance crafts an annual Legislative Agenda in partnership with early childhood organizations, provides year-round advocacy support, and facilitates meaningful interactions with policymakers at key times during the decision making process.


7 School Street | Montpelier , Vermont 05602

The Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance is a program of the Vermont Community Loan Fund.

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