- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The number of people who identified as homeless in Vermont fell since last year, with the biggest decline coming in the state’s most populous county, according to an annual count.

The census, organized by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, showed that homelessness declined by 11.5 percent in Chittenden County and by 2.3 percent in the state, according to numbers released after a count of people experiencing homelessness on the night of Jan. 27.

A total of 1,523 Vermonters identify as homeless, The Burlington Free Press reported (https://bfpne.ws/1Jw9QAH ).

In 2014, the survey found the county had experienced a 9-percent increase in homelessness.

Margaret Bozik, co-chair of the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, said domestic violence and the high cost/low availability of housing are contributing factors.

The county has had some success housing homeless people through the 100,000 Homes campaign - a community-based initiative that seeks out people who are homeless and connects them to services and money to provide them with housing.

“We need to create more rental housing stock to truly bend the curve in the right direction - especially with a vacancy rate persistently below 1 percent,” Bozik said.

A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that a household must earn $20.68 per hour to afford fair market rent in Vermont.

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Information from: The Burlington Free Press, https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

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