Vermont 2-1-1 Monthly Update – Fewer Housing Calls as Warm Weather Arrives

Vermont 2-1-1

Vermont Health Department Warns Tick Season is Already Underway

The Health Department is advising everyone to take the following actions this spring and summer:

AVOID — Areas that are good tick habitat such as tall grass, or areas with a lot of brush and leaf litter, and along forest edges.

REPEL — Before you go outside, remember to use insect repellant with up to 30% DEET and treat clothes with permethrin. When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and tuck your pants into your socks to keep ticks away from your skin. Inspect yourself regularly when outside to catch any ticks before they bite.

INSPECT — Do daily tick checks on yourself, children and pets. Check yourself from head to toe. While nymphs are most commonly found on the lower legs, they may be anywhere on the body.

REMOVE — Remove ticks promptly. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has also been proven effective in preventing Lyme disease by washing ticks off the skin.

Read the full press release here.

Vermont 2-1-1

Monthly Call

Volume Report

A message from the Director, MaryEllen Mendl

The Vermont 2-1-1 call center closed out this year’s tax season in April with over 1600 referrals to tax filing assistance programs. The growing awareness of free tax filing assistance programs that help low- to moderate-income taxpayers has meant that each year more Vermonters have valuable discretionary income for everyday essentials, such as food and housing.  We were pleased, again this year, to provide space in the call center during the tax filing season for the Chittenden County Tax Scheduler.  A total of 1,036 Chittenden County residents had their Vermont and Federal income taxes prepared and Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), serving Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle and Addison Counties, completed over 3,220 tax returns this season, surpassing their goal of 3,178.

Referrals to Community Action Agencies in the sub-category of Community Groups and Governmental Offices remained strong in the first four months of 2015. Family and Community Support, defined as core services provided to low- income families within their communities, was the program most frequently referred to by Vermont 2-1-1 Contact Specialists this month.

A rise in referrals to Disaster Services, specifically in Windham County, was the result of a scheduled Vermont Yankee exercise. Vermont is being evaluated in May 2015 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, during which time state and local responders will be required to demonstrate their capacity to respond to a major public safety incident at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Vermont 2-1-1 serves as the Public Inquiry Line for the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and our participation in exercises and drills prepares us for our upcoming performance evaluation.  In March and April, these exercises test capabilities of all participating agencies around the state in the event of a security breach at the plant. Although there were 130 referrals in Disaster Services, over 150 calls were handled during the two preparatory exercises.

April 10th marked the successful move to our new United Ways of Vermont office and 2-1-1contact center facility and the implementation of our hosted Voice Over Internet Protocol iPBX solution telephone service. The upgraded telephone service enables us to have voice, video, messaging, and collaboration tools in one powerful cloud-based service. We now have access to our business communications from anywhere, on any device, at any time.  We have dramatically improved our telecom infrastructure while reducing costs, improving efficiency, and more effectively managing our queues.

Mark your calendar for a June 17th Open House Celebration!

View Vermont 2-1-1’s monthly call volume report here.

Fewer Housing Calls as Warm Weather Arrives

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.

April indicates a slow down in calls for emergency housing. This trend is consistent with past seasons, as the warmer weather enters the region. Of the 282 total requests for emergency housing, 184 requests were authorized, compared to the high of 597 housing requests authorized in March. Learn more by reading this month’s Emergency Housing Report here.

Gardening Communities in Vermont

Vermont 2-1-1 Resource Specialists are in the field learning about community resources all the time. Check out this resource corner to learn about the latest updates, timely information and stories from the field.

Gardening matters!  Community gardens allow families and individuals without land of their own the opportunity to grow their own food, providing access to fresh and nutritionally rich produce. Studies have shown that community gardeners and their children not only eat healthier, more nutrient rich diets, but that their well-being is enhanced from a variety of mental health benefits that being in nature provides.

The Vermont Community Garden Network provides a Garden Directory of nearly 400 community, school and group gardens in existence around the state.  For information about becoming a community garden member or about becoming a garden director in your community visit or call 802-861-GROW.

Gardening matters!  It’s all about healthy growth: in ourselves, in our families, and in our communities!

Vermont 2-1-1 Intern Honored with George W. Albee Award

Kendall Sweeney came to Vermont from Katonah, New York in the fall of 2011, where she started at UVM as a psychology major with a minor in Communication Science & Disorders, as well as Special Education.  She came to us at Vermont 2-1-1 in June of 2014 where she made large contributions as an intern and proved to be a valuable asset to the team.  Recently, she received the George W. Albee award, which is given annually by the Board of Trustees of the Vermont Conference on the Primary Prevention of Psychopathology.  Kendall received this award because she showed exemplary interest, competence, and originality in subject matter and course work related to prevention of psychopathology.  While we are sad to see Kendall head back to her hometown, we are grateful for all the work she put in with us and know that she will excel wherever she heads next.

Did you know that Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the United Ways of Vermont? Support the United Ways of Vermont by starting your shopping at

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