- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Homelessness in Vermont is down 28 percent in the last year and the state is working to ensure even more people have a place to live, said Gov. Peter Shumlin, who signed an executive order to increase access to affordable housing.

The order signed Wednesday requires that owners of housing that receive state funds make available at least 15 percent of their units to homeless Vermonters.

Shumlin, a Democrat, says state and private partners can work together to align supportive services, rental subsidies, and state investments in affordable housing.

“Vermont is a special place, a place where we take care of each other and with this executive order we are solidifying, formalizing and building upon the good work that has been done,” he said.

The recently released Annual Point in Time Count Report on homelessness shows that for a second year in a row the number of homeless Vermonters declined.

“These results are a testament to the efforts, innovation and partnership of state agencies, our homelessness service providers and housing managers working toward a common goal of ensuring every Vermonter has a safe place to call home,” said Noelle MacKay, the commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development.

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