Canal Street Veterans Housing marks 5th anniversary

Posted On March 7, 2016 By | No Comments on Canal Street Veterans Housing marks 5th anniversary

On a blustery January day in 2010, COTS’ Canal Street Veterans Housing officially opened. In the five years since, this two-year transitional housing program for formerly homeless veterans and their families is among COTS’ most successful programs.

The U.S. Veterans Administration recently conducted its annual review of Canal Street, where our program exceeded all performance measures for the previous year. Among the 2015 outcomes worth celebrating: 87% of residents who left Canal Street moved into permanent housing and 100% of those who exited (and were able to work) were employed.

For in-house use to Duncan Wisniewski Architecture and Housing Vermont in media produced by them such as brochures, presentations, ads and web sites. Photo credit as Gary Hall Photography or Gary R. Hall.

For in-house use to Duncan Wisniewski Architecture and Housing Vermont in media produced by them such as brochures, presentations, ads and web sites. Photo credit as Gary Hall Photography or Gary R. Hall.

Canal Street continues to be the only VA housing provider in Vermont that allows families of veterans to join them in their program. In 2015, we had eight children and two spouses of veterans at Canal Street. This has allowed families to stay together when facing homelessness.

We are grateful to the many volunteers who support veterans at Canal Street. American Legion Post 91 continues to provide monthly transportation for veterans to shop at the grocery store. In addition, they recently began hosting veterans for a community breakfast at their post in Colchester.

COTS Volunteer of the Year Scott Springer helps veterans on site with employment searches, resume building, and computer help. COTS also offers educational tutors for the families living on COTS facilities, including Canal Street Veterans Housing.

The Blue Star Mothers of Vermont are longtime and strong supporters of the veterans at Canal Street. They host monthly Sunday night dinner, and offer $200 to each of the graduate of the program to help with moving costs.

Therapy Dogs of Vermont volunteer Evan Stainman and his friendly dog, Hank (or as Canal Street residents call him “Hank the Tank”), cheers up and spends time with the veterans. This has been a joyous new addition to life at Canal Street and helped foster other group activities, like game and movie nights.

Canal Street has started a weekly coffee hour where the veterans get together on Wednesday mornings and have a light snack and talk. This has helped build relationships among the veterans and made new veterans feel comfortable. Graduates of the program have returned for this gathering, and it is great to see the connections made between graduates and current program participants. The coffee hour also has helped program graduates stay connected to the community at Canal Street. For more information on our Canal Street Veteran Housing, check out the program page on our website HERE.

COTS partnered with Housing Vermont to make Canal Street Veterans Housing a reality. Housing Vermont is a nonprofit syndication and development company that creates permanently affordable rental housing for Vermonters through partnerships with local organizations, public agencies and the private sector. COTS is currently partnering with Housing Vermont on the renovation of COTS’ facility at 95 North Avenue.

Categories: Community Partner, Homelessness, Housing, Veterans, Volunteers
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