Committee on Temporary Shelter (Burlington, VT)


  • Name:Betsy Ward
  • Title:Corporate and Foundation Partnerships Manager

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Committee on Temporary Shelter
  • Address:PO Box 1616
    Burlington, VT 05402
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:802-864-7402

Organization Web

User Email


Click map for a full size active view.


  • Mission:
  • The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) provides emergency shelter, services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont. COTS advocates for long-term solutions to end homelessness.

    We believe in the value and dignity of every human life, that housing is a fundamental human right, and that emergency shelter is not the solution to homelessness.

  • Overview:
  • The Committee on Temporary Shelter is the largest provider of shelter and services for the homeless in Vermont. We serve over 2,000 people each year. For those who have lost their homes, COTS provides safe shelter and a warm bed as well a path back to independence. COTS also provides financial assistance and counseling that helps people in danger of becoming homeless stay in their homes, and provides special programming tailored to meet the unique needs of homeless veterans.

    We operate multiple programs in nine locations in the Burlington area:

    EMERGENCY SHELTER FOR SINGLE ADULTS: The Waystation is a 36-bed overnight shelter for men and women, age 18 and older. The Daystation is a daytime shelter that offers refuge from the streets, where a noontime meal is served. These facilities are open 365 days a year. During our last fiscal year, we served 266 individuals at the Waystation and 987 individuals at the Daystation.

    EMERGENCY SHELTER FOR FAMILIES: COTS operates two family shelters in Chittenden County. The Firehouse Family Shelter and Main Street Family Shelter provide safe and decent shelter for 15 families with children. Families can stay for up to six months while they work with COTS staff to find affordable housing, employment, child care, and health-care services. Last year COTS provided shelter and services to 74 families (including 108 children).

    SUPPORT SERVICES: Case managers offer one-on-one support services to all COTS clients. Our case managers help clients link to community resources, disability, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and state health insurance. Last year, our case management team provided outreach and support for 239 individuals and 161 families in shelter and transitional housing.

    TRANSITIONAL AND PERMANENT HOUSING: The Smith House provides chronically homeless and hard-to-house individuals moving out of shelter with transitional housing. It has seven single-room occupancy units, two family apartments, and full-time support personnel. Canal Street Veterans Housing provides 16 units of two-year transitional housing for homeless veterans and their families, as well as 12 units of permanent, affordable housing. The Wilson and St. John’s Hall provide 44 single-room occupancy units and four apartments, offering permanent housing for formerly homeless individuals as well as low-income senior citizens and veterans.

    PREVENTION PROGRAMS: The Housing Resource Center is dedicated to homelessness prevention and housing retention. It offers assistance to prevent at-risk households from losing their existing housing due to unforeseen circumstances. Last year the Housing Resource Center helped 198 low-income households (including 161 children) avert homelessness and stay in their housing. The Housing Resource Center also offers grant, loan, and guarantee assistance with back rent and security deposits; it assisted 292 homeless individuals and families (including 282 children) through this program last year.

  • History:
  • COTS was founded by a diverse group of community members who came together as a committee in the fall of 1982. They were concerned about the emerging homeless population in Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, and wanted to ensure that no one froze to death when winter arrived. On Christmas Eve 1982, COTS opened its doors, with two volunteers on hand to welcome anyone who needed shelter. Temperatures that night were well below freezing. That first winter, six or seven men – mostly veterans – typically spent the night.

    These early volunteers had no long-term plan for the organization; instead, they saw a desperate human need and they responded. COTS was founded with one simple goal: Break the fall for those who in are need. That founding ideal has motivated the evolution of COTS’ programming from shelter to solutions. We strive to break the fall no matter where in the homelessness crisis trajectory a person is. COTS achieves this by offering an array of services: emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing, services and outreach, and innovative homelessness prevention. COTS staff and our various programs are designed to work in tandem to help individuals and families in crisis stabilize and secure sustainable housing.

    COTS has been recognized nationally for its innovative strategies to help homeless families and individuals. Under the leadership of Executive Director Rita Markley, COTS received a Blue Ribbon Best Practice Award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1998), an honorable mention from the U.S. Conference of Mayors (1998), and a Gunther Award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1999). For her advocacy to end homelessness, Rita was named Vermonter of Year by the Burlington Free Press (1999) and as Champlain College’s Distinguished Citizen (2013).

  • Year established:1982
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:16
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:50


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:03-0285606

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:030285606
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:
  • Organization Address:PO BOX 1616
  • Organization City:BURLINGTON
  • Organization State:VT
  • Organization Zip:05402-1616
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:December, 1984
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):560, 994
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):Supplying money, goods or services to the poor, Described in section 170(b)1)(a)(vi) of the Code
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:September, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:September
  • NTEE Code:L41Z
  • Asset Amount:$7,847,992
  • Asset Code:7 ($5,000,000 - $9,999,999)
  • Income Amount:$6,721,664
  • Income Code:7 ($5,000,000 - $9,999,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$5,452,237
  • Last Updated:2/25/2018 9:50:34 am

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.