This October, 141 school childrenwere homeless in Chittenden County, and an additional 48 children under the age of five were either living in a COTS shelter or on the COTS Family Shelter's waiting list. That's nearly 200 homeless children under the age of 18 in our community.
COTS is currently able to serve 25 families between three family shelters, and served 107 families in the 2011 fiscal year. Unbelieveably, we consistently have an average of 25-30 families on our waitlist, some sleeping in cars, on floors of other peoples apartments, or even camping until it gets just too cold. Then what? This is why your support is so badly needed and why our prevention efforts are so important! We need your support...we can't keep allowing children to grow up in one motel after another, one shelter after another...their future is our future. Is this the foundation we want for the future of our country?
COTS believes that the answers lie in the prevention of homelessness. Prevention outcomes that COTS has acheived through the Housing Resource Center (HRC) are proof that prevention efforts DO work successfully to keep families housed and avoid the trauma of homelessness. Between July 2008 and June 2011, this program assisted 1,507 households with homeless prevention and security deposit grants and loans. Of the households helped through June 2011, 816 were families -- 98% of those families have retained their housing. Overall, 92%of households helped through the HRC have not requested additional assistance.
Angus Cheney, Chair of the Vermont Council on Homelessness recently said, “It would be easy to let ourselves slide a little bit and start to accept this level of homelessness in Vermont. I would encourage you all not to accept that.” Please help us address this very complicated issue, through prevention, case management, shelter, permanent, and transitional housing. Every dollar makes a difference. You can make a difference for homeless families, indviduals, and veterans in our community.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support,
Love to you all!