Vermont seeking comment about Hud Programs: Each year the State of Vermont - Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Human Services and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board receives funding for HUD programs through the Consolidated Plan or Annual Plan update process which identifies priorities based on needs from the housing needs assessment, market analysis, citizen and stakeholder input.  At the end of the program year the state is required to report on the performance outcomes outlined from those plans in their Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER).  They have completed the FY22 Program Year DRAFT CAPER which includes the outcomes for the following programs: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG); and Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV) Emergency Solutions Grant Program CARES Act (ESG-CV).   As a representative for a unit of general local government, please share the attached notice with your local residents including minorities,The state is seeking comments by September 27, 2023.


Staying physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic

Photo: Trail in the J. Maynard Miller Town Forest in Vernon

By Matt Sorensen

While we are all doing our best to practice social distancing during these unprecedented times for the safety of ourselves and everyone within our community, we must all continue to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally. While stuck at home, working or not, it is easy to get caught up in the overwhelming coverage of the pandemic and lose sight of our own well being. Don’t worry, everyone can find ways to maintain their physical and mental health while continuing to follow the CDC guidelines on how to keep our community safe. 

What is mental health? An individual’s mental health affects our physiological, emotional, and social well being. How we think, feel, and act are all affected by our mental state and how we take care of ourselves. This pandemic can feel overwhelming, which can lead to stress and anxiety in our everyday lives. While it is important to listen to our healthcare professionals on how to best stay safe; reducing the amount of time we spend watching, reading or listening to the news can reduce your anxiety and stress which will improve your mental health, this includes social media. Get your information from trusted sources like the CDC or the WHO to avoid misinformation and unnecessary strain on our mental well being. 

While all of our lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic we can all continue to try to live similarly to how we used to. Eating full meals at regular times, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep will keep you feeling physically and mentally healthy. Your eating habits have a big impact on your well being. When we feel trapped inside it can be easy to snack a lot. Setting a routine or a schedule of when to eat and what you are going to eat can be beneficial.

While you may not be able to go to the gym right now there are other ways to exercise. Getting outside for a walk or a run in your neighborhood is a good way to relax and relieve stress while getting needed exercise. Family walks are being widely adopted as a way to spend time with the family and get everyone outside. Yoga, stretching, or meditation are good ways to continue to exercise. Amidst the pandemic, some yoga studios and gyms now offer online classes you can join remotely. All of these will help you sleep better at night.

Turning off the news or your phone an hour before you go to bed is also helpful. When you get a good night’s sleep you are more relaxed the next day. Use this time wisely, work on a hobby you haven’t had the time to explore, work on your spring cleaning, or read that book you’ve never had time for. Completing tasks during these hard times will make your time at home more enjoyable while having a positive impact on your mental health. 

In Vernon, we have a unique community where we are all very involved with each other’s day-to-day lives which have recently been interrupted. While practicing social distancing it is easy to feel alone and distanced from your friends and neighbors. Phoning, FaceTiming, or texting the people you used to interact with daily can improve your daily life. Also think about reaching out to your neighbors who are more distanced, or lonely now. This is not an excuse to start unnecessary arguments in our town Facebook group about minor inconveniences in our lives. Check on your neighbors and your loved ones remotely. 

While public places are largely shut down our town trails are still open. Now is a great time to explore them if you haven’t already. You can find all the Vernon trail maps here! Take the time to be positive and productive, other people reflect what they see within a tight-knit community like Vernon. While we as a community are dealing with this crisis it is important to remember that we are a community and we are going to get through this together. Get your facts from trusted sources like the CDC or the WHO and remember to take the time to take care of yourself and those around you. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, cover your cough or sneeze, practice social distancing, and stay home if you’re sick. If you think you’re sick call your doctor or healthcare provider, don’t walk into the emergency room and risk the health of everyone else around you unless you are critically ill.