The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) provides emergency shelter, services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont.
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COTS: More than Shelter

Who We Are:

The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) is the largest Picture205service provider for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Vermont.  COTS offers emergency shelter, prevention assistance, support services, and transitional and permanent housing for those who are homeless and marginally housed.  We believe: in the value and dignity of every human life; that housing is a fundamental human right; and that emergency shelter is not the solution to homelessness.

Who We Serve:

  • Low-income Vermonters, primarily in Chittenden County whose income is under 50% of HUD’s Area Median Income
    • 70% have monthly income less than $1,000/month
    • 53% of clients are families, and 47% are singles

Lori’s Story:


Ten years ago September, that’s when the bottom fell out of our world.  We went from our American dream of having a nice house — four bedrooms, a two-car garage, a fireplace. We left that house in South Burlington to go to a hotel, then to our temporary home with COTS.

“People become homeless for many different reasons.  In our case, it was because of an illness. My husband, Bruce, worked for Xerox for close to 18 years when his boss told him he had to move to Connecticut or resign.  Our father-in-law lived with us, and he was on dialysis. We hadn’t been in our house that long so we decided to stay. Bruce found a job first at Best Buy, and then at Home Depot. While he was working at Home Depot, he called me to pick him up from work. He could hardly move, and he had immense pain in his back. From that day forward, there were tests, doctors, and many different painkillers – most with awful side effects. We had already started to get behind in the bills, but when Bruce stopped working, it became worse.

“In September 2004, the bank foreclosed on our house. With no family in the area, we had no place to go. Since this happened to my family, it has changed how I look at things. I don’t take things for granted that I may have before. I want to be able to give back in any way I can. This comes from COTS helping us when we needed it.”

At COTS, we help people like Lori every day.  With your support, we can continue making a difference in the lives of our fellow community members.

Between July 2014 and June 2015…Vanessa Torchia of Burlington, leaving Battery Park during the start of the 22nd annual COTS Walk on Sunday May 1, 2011. (BEN SARLE, for the Free Press)

Emergency Shelters:

  • 61 families (including 108 children) stayed in COTS family shelters
    • Up to 15 families hosted each night
  • 234 individuals stayed at COTS’ Waystation
    • Up to 36 individuals hosted each night
  • 665 individuals visited COTS’ Daystation
    • More than 30 people served daily

Housing Resource Center:IMG_8390

  • 423 households (925 individuals, 367 of whom were children) maintained or regained housing via security deposit payments, rental arrearage assistance, and services through the COTS Housing Resource Center


  • 58 units of permanent housing were offered by COTS at The Wilson, St. John’s Hall, Smith House, and Canal Street Veterans Housing (with Housing Vermont)


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