Meet Chandler Poling (and Moose!) pictured ‘Zooming’ above, the newest Service Coordinator of Pathways Vermont’s Rapid Rehousing Program that recently expanded into Bennington, Lamoille, and the Northeast Kingdom Counties! This new program is slated to house 140 additional families across the state over the course of 18 months. Chandler has a long history of dedication to mission-driven work and is hopeful about his team’s ability to reach populations whose needs have not been met thus far. As the Chair of the local Continuum of Care, Chandler has been essential to the efforts already at work in Bennington County to end homelessness and brings his expansive knowledge of the local community to Pathways Vermont.
Chandler’s years of experience and skills are well-suited to take on the challenge of starting a new program and hitting the ground running in Bennington County. Prior to arriving in Vermont, Chandler worked for Pathways to Housing DC which implements the same model to end homelessness.
“My family and I moved [to Bennington] at the end of 2018, we had been living in Baltimore previously. I wanted to move my family and we thought about where our dream place to live would be. We settled on Vermont! Pathways Vermont was my first stop to look for work but my wife received a job offer in Bennington. At the time Pathways Vermont was not providing services in the area, so I was excited by their newest expansion and I feel very at home! Pathways truly embodies their values of meeting people where they are at, without judgment.
I really want to succeed here. Bennington has a lot to offer and people are ready to work with folks where they are at, but there just hasn’t been enough funding or support to do so. Currently, we are failing our chronically homeless population. There are at least 20 people on the top of the list who haven’t been successfully housed in years, they just keep cycling through the same systems and institutions that aren’t meeting their needs.
People are left unhoused here because they want housing without preconditions. They are independent and they want to be self-determined, they want to make their own decisions. We view those qualities as strengths here at Pathways Vermont. As someone with a ‘Housing First mentality’, I see that as common sense. And I think that idea is growing.
It’s really exciting to be at the point of the spear here with Pathways Vermont. There is real potential for change and this program adjuncts nicely with the programs that are already here. We are working cooperatively with local agencies while filling the gap for the underserved chronically homeless populations.
I really feel like we will end homelessness in Bennington County!”