Vermont a Magnet for the Homeless

Columnist Tom Evslin recently quoted The New York Times report of the partial end of Vermont’s Emergency Hotel Program for the homeless.:

“In the first year of the expanded hotel program, the number of Vermonters counted as homeless more than doubled, to 2,590 in 2021 from 1,110 in 2020. In the total jumped again, to 3,295.

“The rural state, with a population smaller than any but Wyoming, had risen to the top of two national rankings by last year: It had the second highest rate of homelessness per capita in the nation, after California — but also the lowest rate of homeless people living outdoors.”  

Tom continues “The Times did not consider the possibility that Vermont has such a high rate of homelessness at least in part because it provides such good accommodations for the homeless as evidenced by the low rate of people living unsheltered. … Free apartments are attractive.” 

“WCAX tells about the increased demand for free food at social service organizations in Chittenden County. Why does the demand for free food keep going up? At least in part, because it’s available – and free.”

“It’s an iron law of economics that there is no limit to the demand for free stuff. When programs are extended beyond the emergency which gave rise to them, people do become dependent. …Free food, with no means testing to qualify, has also become a staple.”

Thank you, Tom Evslin.


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  • John McClaughry
    published this page in EAI Blog 2023-07-18 01:48:47 -0400