Selectboard Notes Feb 21, 2023 – Let Homeless Sleep in the Snow

BCS submitted its Statement to the board by email and in person on paper. The selectboard (health commission) declined to read any part of BCS’ STATEMENT at the hearing.   The selectboard decided to uphold the Emergency Order to shut down BCS emergency homeless shelter in RVs.  As you might note in the Statement (ask for a copy), the Order is legally defective, as BCS was not notified of our right to a hearing within five days of the Order (and for other reasons).  So, the evening’s proceedings may  be declared void.

During the meeting one person said that we should not refer to a housing emergency, since it has not been designated an emergency by state government.  Brattleboro government designates it as a crisis.  Kevin and Stacey, two of the homeless people staying in our shelter, testified.  They were told to go through proper channels to find housing.  This shows the ignorance of town officials, who don’t know how many months people spend in those channels before learning officially what they already knew — that there is no housing and that the deplorable permitted shelters are full.

But the Brattleboro Selectboard says it’s not an emergency.  Think what comfort that will bring to people sleeping in the snow. Thank you, Brattleboro Selectboard !

We tried to help the town with a decent solution to the housing crisis.  We publicly informed the board of our project at their meetings four times since January 2021. They did nothing.  Now we have this: Of the 20 items (complaints) in the order 17 are inapplicable (they apply to permanent housing, not emergency shelters), 7 are baseless (no law is cited), four are false (having errors of fact), and three show prejudice against the homeless and handicapped living in our shelter.  We have cured five of the complaints, even baseless ones.  We have tried to help and cooperate, but the board wants to shut its eyes and ears.

Join us. Send legal advice, donations, start a shelter or detached RV bedroom at your place, volunteer with us. Homeless people need your help.


Comments | 6

  • déjà vu all over again.

    From a story titled, “Remembering Wally White and Faith Ministries,” which was originally published in the Religion Section of the Weekend Edition of the Brattleboro Reformer: Dec. 19 – 20, 2020, and now on my blog:

    “Thirty-five years ago, the Town of Brattleboro gave a homeless shelter run by Faith Ministries a December 25 deadline to close.

    “The Christmas deadline — a public relations blunder — was dramatic enough to garner national attention, but the real issue was articulated in a press release in which Wally & Emily White said the following:

    “’At a time when many municipal administrations are asking churches to shelter the homeless, in Brattleboro the Zoning Board is trying to close a church run shelter. If they succeed, up to eight homeless men may face the cruel winter with nowhere else to go. One of them nearly died of exposure last year while sleeping in a dumpster.’”

  • The Town that Hates the Homeless

    Maybe the selectboard will put that on the new website banner, or in the banner over Main Street instead of “WE CELEBRATE COMPLACENCY”

  • notification clarification

    Yes, BCS was notified of the hearing on the 21st. However, we refer to Title 18 section 127(c) which says we had a right to a hearing within five days of the order and that the issuer has to notify us of that right. That’s just one more thing that town government did wrong. It added up to not listening, just like they wouldn’t listen to our written testimony on the 21st nor to the several notices we gave them recently, nor did they want to put the matter on their agenda when requested. They don’t want to listen and they don’t want to discuss homelessness. Do they want to think ?

  • You shoulda showed up...

    The board wondered where you were, Kurt, and why you were not there to make any arguments on your behalf. They asked where you were multiple times, and even waited for you since they started ahead of the agenda-listed time. (All of us ‘attending’ waited for you.)

    The board tried to have some of the statement read, but the person who brought it to the meeting had left. One of the people living in your yard read the first page to everyone.

    The board didn’t appreciate the confusion you introduced by saying this is an issue with your organization BCS. They said you are the property owner and you are responsible, since your name is on the property. BCS, they said, has nothing to do with this issue. (Of course, you could sign your house over the the organization, I suppose if you want to go that route…) : )

    And ultimately, if you meet the conditions, you can have people live in RVs in your yard. So, meet the conditions! Help others meet said conditions. Fill the town with RVs.

    I think if you had been at the meeting, you might have had a different outcome. Maybe. Only you can argue your point of view well in a situation like this. You could have articulated your side of things. Having the others there to back you up, then, would have been more effective.

    • You shoulda showed up...

      Thanks for asking, Chris. People fussed about the BCS or me (Kurt Daims) being there. The simple fact is that Brattleboro Common Sense is listed before me (Kurt Daims) on the official notice that the board sent to us. That’s enough reason. The real reason is that someone had threatened to make trouble at the hearing, and our testimony on paper was the best way to prevent that. I wrote much of it. That’s a fair and legal way to show up. Besides, the board is incapable of conducting a fair hearing, as was soon proven: the selectboard refused to hear our testimony, which we submitted by E-mail and in person at the hearing; they didn’t read it; they allowed someone to read only the introduction. This meeting was probably illegal for that reason, and because we were not informed of our right to an earlier hearing (That’s the law: Title 18 Section 127(c)). They were notified of this and didn’t respond. BCS has requested the board’s attention for the RVs several times, and most recently we made an official request to have it on their agenda, but they refused. Why would anyone think the board wants to listen ?


    I apologize to the selectboard. I wrote that the board had said the housing crisis is not an emergency. This is not true. That sentiment was heard at the hearing, but it did not come from anyone on the board. So, Ian, Jessica, Tim, Daniel, and Liz, I apologize.

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