The region needs more emergency housing to safely house the diversity of people experiencing homelessness. This means addressing the tangible barriers that emergency housing providers face.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency housing providers sounded warnings. They were unable to meet the need for emergency beds in the greater Upper Valley region, with some families being “doubled-up” in existing shelters and others remaining unsheltered, as occurred in the 2019 City of Lebanon PIT count. The rise in homelessness during the pandemic and need for providers to ensure social distancing measures demonstrated the ability of providers to adapt in crisis; however, it also lays bare the shortfalls and limits of current options. For example, residents with substance misuse challenges are not allowed in some facilities. Our communities must do more to support providers in providing a safe haven for those who need one.