Through a virtual volunteer effort, the public opinion survey received 10 responses representing 15 individuals identifying themselves as homeless and 1 currently in a home with supportive services. The respondents hailed from ten different communities in the region with the majority living here for 10 years or more. Four respondents indicated they have been homeless for less than a year, three of whom pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as the cause. Three had no regular place to stay at the time of the survey.
When asked what would help them get out of homelessness different strategies were identified – rental assistance (3), employment (1), skills training (2), and affordable housing (3). The lack of interest in transitional housing among these respondents highlights their strong preference for independent living. Other priorities when choosing a place to stay include safety, health and pets. Unfortunately, most respondents also felt they had no choice when deciding on a place to stay (Figure 1). Among all public opinion survey respondents, 55% agreed that homes with supportive services were needed in their neighborhood or town with only about 10% disagreeing.
In your own words…
- “losing house to foreclosure; have no other choice but to stay as long as possible; nowhere to go, MUST have pets (ADA service dog)”
- “we need greater creativity about what we have – individual homeowners on 10 acres, put up a tiny house or a nicely converted RV on an acre outside their view… Very LOW rent for the lot and co-ownership w/right of survival if someone puts up a tiny dwelling; same well, minimal lot prep, accessory dwelling. A simple infrastructure/program to bring win-win situation to numerous property-owners and people needing affordable housing; not ‘these are where the poor folk live’ new construction and stigma. People being real neighbors like the VT I knew 30 yrs ago.”