Good Samaritan Haven Preparing for First Wave of Motel Exodus with End of Adverse Weather Exception


Berlin, VT–Good Samaritan Haven is strategizing on how to best assist approximately 60 area residents who will need to vacate six Washington County motels on Friday, March 15. 

The exodus is occurring due to the conclusion of the Adverse Weather Conditions Program, a state initiative to provide emergency housing to unsheltered individuals and families during the winter months. Recently, the Department of Children and Families announced the end of the program, which will result in close to 500 people statewide losing their emergency motel housing.

“While we all knew the Adverse Weather Program was temporary, the exits will be a hardship for many individuals,” stated Rick DeAngelis, Good Samaritan Haven’s co-executive director. He added, “Vermont has one of the highest per capita rates of homelessness in the country. This will worsen the homelessness crisis we are already experiencing.”

There are two options the State is offering that may help. First, any individual losing their motel housing may apply for an extension if they can demonstrate that they are vulnerable due to a disabling condition. “We only learned about that option yesterday,” said DeAngelis. “Our staff is working with other partners like The People’s Health and Wellness Clinic to prepare extension applications which require the review and sign-off of a clinician.”

Second, the State has announced it will be opening several emergency shelters for those who have no other option when the motel housing ends. The shelters, located in Burlington, Berlin, and Rutland are overnight only and will operate for no more than one week.  

DeAngelis said the shelters are good emergency backup but there are significant issues with them, including transportation logistics, limited overnight hours, and the appropriateness of this type of setting for individuals with physical or mental health limiting conditions. 

“This is a challenging immediate situation but we will do our utmost to help,” stated DeAngelis. “We will work with other service providers and the State of Vermont to ease the transition to wherever it may be.” 

Easing the transition will include helping residents with disability exemption forms, providing transportation to housing options, distributing camping gear, and identifying safe camping locations. 

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About the organization:
Good Samaritan Haven is a shelter network serving the unhoused population in Washington County. Operating three year-round emergency shelters in Berlin, Barre City, and Barre Town, a seasonal emergency overflow shelter in Montpelier, and a peer-to-peer street outreach team. To learn more, visit their website, 

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