Committee on Temporary Shelter
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT - 05401
COTS is able to shelter fifteen families at a time between our two family shelters, which are the only Family Shelters in Chittenden County. Both are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Families can stay for up to six months while they work with COTS staff to find affordable housing, employment, childcare, and healthcare. Families are also expected to save 40% of their income while staying at COTS.
Children raised with housing instability are often at the greatest risk of becoming homeless themselves. With that in mind, we take a long-term approach to homelessness prevention with our children's programming in shelter. We aim to effectively intervene now to stabilize parents and children, help them build new skills, and stop homelessness from happening in the future.
Homelessness is not just a financial crisis but also an early education issue. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education ranked Vermont as one of 10 states with the fastest-growing number of homeless schoolchildren. COTS has implemented additional support for children, including:
COTS' Children's Education Advocate enrolls children in family shelter in quality early learning, preschools, after-school, and summer camp enrichment programs. These relationships arranged in shelter continue after families move into permanent housing. We coordinate volunteer-based learning activities, including field trips, arts projects, and the COTS book buddies literacy initiative. We also work with the University of Vermont Early Education Enrichment program to provide academic support and partner with the Burlington School District on tutoring in shelter.
Our AmeriCorps Children's Programming Specialist teaches children about nutrition and wellness. This year, we started Vermont's first after-school snack program in a family shelter. The AmeriCorp member also promotes physical activity and healthy choices.
In 2014, 78 families, including 127 children, stayed in emergency shelter. Please note that our shelters are consistently full with a waiting list.
To inquire about shelter availability, please call the Main Street Family Shelter at 864-2651.