Montpelier, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is expanding who will be eligible for emergency housing in hotels and motels this winter.

The Vermont Department for Children and Families announced the Adverse Weather Conditions of the General Assistance Emergency Housing Program will be in use from Nov. 22 until March 1.

Advocates for those experiencing homelessness called the new guidelines “a big win for all who are cold right now,” but they are concerned about what they feel is a lack of clarity to the rules. Some of the advocates are planning to discuss the issues Thursday in Montpelier.

The state says that historically the adverse weather program has been applied on a day-to-day basis depending on weather forecasts and conditions.

To be eligible for the program, people must have an urgent need for housing, meet income guidelines and be unable to find housing on their own.

Before the pandemic, the emergency housing program served about 250 people a year. The program currently serves more than 1,500 people.

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