September is National Preparedness Month

Vermont 2-1-1

Emergency Housing in Vermont

Through a partnership with the State of Vermont’s Economic Services Division, Vermont 2-1-1 administers the After Hours Emergency Housing Program beginning at 4:30pm weekdays, throughout weekends and on state/federal holidays. Housing in Vermont has reached a critical need.

Vermont 2-1-1 Information and Referral (I&R) Specialists responded to 125 calls regarding housing needs. I&R specialists provide needs assessment, problem-solving support, and information and referrals to a wide range of services to each caller. Review Vermont 2-1-1’s Emergency Housing Report for July here.

Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Contact Statistics

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

Vermont 2-1-1 responded to 1,901 contacts during the month of July, a total that is, like the June total, reflective of the financial relief that our few short months of summer offer.  Many Vermonters allow themselves a brief respite from those worrisome thoughts about the impending cold season and the added stressors it will inevitably bring.

The Basic Needs category contact volume this month shows a slight increase over June’s contact volume for this category. This reminds us that there are many Vermonters who are struggling to meet their basic needs throughout the year, particularly housing and utility related needs.

In July, the sub-category Temporary Financial Assistance hit a calendar year high with a 28% increase over June.  At Vermont 2-1-1, Contact Specialists do their best to connect Vermonters to resources to supplement their incomes by referring to both public assistance programs and to other local community assistance programs offered by non-profit organizations throughout the state.

A flurry of calls for Disaster Services in July is directly related to the flooding just prior to the Fourth of July holiday. Vermonters affected by the storms reported damages mostly to driveways and culverts but there were a few who weren’t so fortunate. Muck outs and debris removal efforts by Upper Valley Strong COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) and The Southern Baptist Disaster Services volunteers were greatly appreciated by those whose homes and yards were damaged by the flooding. The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund was activated to provide case management and financial help. Vermont did receive a Federal Declaration for public assistance after the storm, as roads were washed away from the storms.

Real emergency preparedness begins long before any hint of a disaster. It starts with people discussing scenarios and saying, “What if…” and then conceiving of response and recovery strategies and planning accordingly. Vermont 211 staff works with Vermont Emergency Management and VT VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) in continued efforts to educate, plan and practice for the real event.

Read Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly contact volume report here.

Vermont 2-1-1 Web Statistics

In addition to the contact statistics, the following data is from the 2-1-1 website and shows how the public used the database search engine during the month of July:

Top Services: Homeless Motel Vouchers (279 searches); Community Meals (171 searches); Clothing Donation Programs (141 searches);  Assistive Technology Equipment Loan (128 searches);
Household Goods Donation Programs (115 searches)

Top Agencies: Vermont Department for Children and Families – Economic Services Division; Salvation Army (Rutland); CVOEO; Wayward Wheels; Epilepsy Foundation of Vermont

Top Search by City: Hancock; Burlington; Lincoln; Rutland; Brattleboro

Total Site Visits: 4068

Unique (First-Time) Visitors: 1696

Local United Ways Kickoff Annual Campaigns

Each year we see United Way volunteers and staff put on their campaign hats and venture out to raise money for the organization. Your local United Way is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in your local communities by addressing critical human needs in the critical cornerstone areas of education, financial stability, and health. By bringing people and organizations together around innovative solutions, our local United Ways impact thousands of lives every year. These collaborative, community-based, community-led solutions advance the common good and strive to create a good quality of life for all. The United Way delivers the solutions needed to drive change, but the change starts with each of us. Together we are stronger!

As a program of the United Ways of Vermont, Vermont 2-1-1 asks you to join us in living united! Your contributions will be working year-round building a brighter future for our children, enriching the lives of our elderly, giving hope to those who are hurting, strengthening families, and so much more.

Please join us in helping to build a better future! Thank you.

September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month reminds us that during an emergency every minute counts and planning ahead can make all the difference in keeping you and your family safe during a disaster.  This year’s theme of “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can” emphasizes the safety and security benefits that development of emergency preparedness plans provide. There are key steps that every Vermont household can take to be better prepared for the different types of disasters and emergencies that can happen in their communities.

Vermont 2-1-1, in partnership with Vermont Emergency Management, Vermont Department of Health, and the American Red Cross – New Hampshire/Vermont Region, provides information about disaster preparedness planning. Emergency preparedness information is always available on our website. A quick search using the three terms listed below will provide the information and guidance that any Vermonter would need to create a disaster plan.

In Vermont there are two particularly important preparedness tools to be aware of that are offered to Vermonters free of charge.

The first, designed to assist individuals with special needs for assistance during a disaster, is the Citizen Assistance Registry in case of an Emergency (CARE). Vermont 211 and E-911 are working together to identify Vermont residents who would require special assistance in an emergency.  For additional information about this program and/or to download a CARE registration form, visit or go to this page, which also includes a table of emergency resources with links. Clicking the image below will also link you directly to the registration form.

The second, designed to provide all Vermonters with emergency notifications, is Vermont Alert (VTAlert). Vermont Alert is the state system designed to keep Vermonters informed about emergency situations, weather alerts, or road information – among other details that could affect everyday life.  Users select what information they wish to receive, how they receive that information – email, text, phone call, etc. – and for what areas the alerts pertain.  VT Alert is a free service, and it only takes a few minutes to sign up for an account. Visit to sign up.

Additional disaster preparedness/planning links:

Understanding the Diaper Gap

The diaper gap, or diaper need, is about not having enough clean diapers to keep an infant or toddler clean, dry and healthy. Many families fall into the diaper gap in the US and Vermont families are no exception. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, 1 in 3 moms in the US reports suffering from diaper need. Diapers are a basic need, like food and shelter. Not having clean diapers impacts the physical well-being of children and the mental and economical well-being of their parents and caregivers.

Here are some facts about the diaper gap:

Children in poor or low-income households are at the greatest risk.

  • 5.3 million children in the US aged 3 or younger live in families that are poor or low-income.
  • Diapers cannot be obtained with benefit programs such as food stamps (3 Squares in Vermont) or WIC benefits
  • Medicaid or Dr Dynasaur (Vermont’s Medicaid program for children) does not cover the cost of diapers.
  • There are no state or federal “safety net” programs that allocate money specifically for the purchase of diapers.
  • In Vermont, diaper assistance is sometimes provided by food banks and social service agencies. However, they often have limited ability to help with diapers and families often have to qualify for their other services to be eligible to receive diaper assistance.

Not having enough clean diapers poses a health risk. 

  • When families don’t have enough clean diapers, babies remain in soiled ones longer or diapers are reused. This can lead to infections and other serious health issues.

Diapers are expensive.

  • Diapers can cost $70-$80 per month because on average infants need 6 to 12 diapers per day, toddlers may need up to 8 per day.
  • In 2016, the maximum Reach Up benefit for a Vermont household of 1 parent and 2 children was $640. This is the only federal assistance program that can be used to purchase diapers.  It also has to cover other household expenses such as heat, rent, electricity, clothing, transportation and other basic needs.
  • Families without transportation have to buy diapers at smaller convenience stores rather than bulk-buying at “box stores” (such as Costco or Walmart). This causes low-income families to spend twice as much on diapers.

Most child care centers require parents to provide at least 1 day’s worth of disposable diapers.

  • Nationally, 31% of families that are low-income have at least one parent who works full time. Parents count on child care to be able to go to work or attend school. Without diapers, a child cannot attend and the parent cannot go to work.
  • Not working can disqualify a family from child care subsidy programs that not only help parents stay in the work force, but help a child stay in early education programs, which is a key foundation to our children’s learning and development.
  • Cloth diapers are less expensive than disposable ones, but the majority of child care centers do not accept cloth diapers.

Diaper banks are programs that specifically provide diapers to families in need. There are over 300 diaper banks across the country. Vermont has only one diaper bank with a limited service area. To learn more about the diaper gap and how you can help Vermont families facing diaper need, visit the National Diaper Bank Network.


Watch Vermont 2-1-1’s Television Commercial below

Vermont 2-1-1 · PO Box 111 · Essex Junction, VT 05453 · USA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.