Help for Your Legal Problem

Emergency housing in a hotel or motel

The emergency housing hotel / motel program is run by the Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF). If you are experiencing homelessness, call DCF’s Economic Services Division at 1-800-479-6151. It is better to call first thing in the morning if you can. If it is after hours or on the weekend, call 2-1-1.

Even if you are eligible for emergency housing, there may not be a motel or hotel room available in your area. DCF posts a list of availability every day on their website. Even if this chart says there is nothing available in your area, you should call the Economic Services Division to see if something has become available or if they can place you in another region.

Emergency housing during the winter

Eligibility for a hotel / motel room through the Department for Children and Families is expanded during the winter under the “Adverse Weather Conditions” policy.

When the Adverse Weather Conditions policy is in effect, you can be eligible even if you have used up your 28 or 84 days of emergency housing in the past year. Call DCF’s Economic Services Division at 1-800-479-6151 to apply.

From December 15, 2023, until March 15, 2024, the Adverse Weather Conditions exception applies no matter what the weather is. During this time, you can be approved for a motel room for 30 days at a time.

From March 15 to April 15, 2024, the Adverse Weather Conditions exception depends on the forecasted weather in each region from day to day. During that time, if you have no shelter, you may be eligible for a motel voucher if the weather is very cold or if the weather is cold with rain or snow. Every three to four days, the department decides where the Adverse Weather Conditions exceptions will apply and posts it to their website.

If you are offered a shelter bed by DCF or 2-1-1, you have to accept it unless you have a disability-related reason to be in a motel room instead.

If you are part of the “June cohort”

If you were sheltered in a motel or hotel through DCF’s Economic Services Division as of June 30, 2023, you are part of the “June cohort.” You are authorized to stay in a motel or hotel until you find a place to live or until April 1, 2024, at the latest.

Note that there are a number of rules and exceptions that apply to the June cohort, including that you must:

  1. participate in coordinated entry and case management

  2. engage in your own search for alternative housing options, and

  3. contribute 30 percent of your gross household income toward the cost of the hotel or motel housing.

Also, you can be kicked out of the June cohort sooner if:

  1. you are offered an alternative housing placement but do not accept the offer within 48 hours

  2. you find your own housing placement

  3. you do not participate in coordinated entry or engage in your own housing search, or

  4. you are asked to leave the hotel or motel housing due to misconduct.

If you are kicked out of the June cohort for one of these reasons and you do not agree, contact us. Fill out our form and we will call you back.

Where to find help

We also recommend contacting Community Action agencies or calling 211 to see if your community has other housing options.

If you think you should be eligible for emergency housing and have been denied, fill out our form and we will call you back. You can also call us at 1-800-889-2047. Be sure to give us some details about your problem. Your information will be sent to Legal Services Vermont, which screens requests for help for both Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont.

More information: See our page with resources for people who are homeless.