Surviving in the Rough Handbook:
For those living unhoused in Vermont who either have been or are due to evicted from the motel/hotel program or have otherwise have already been abandoned to the streets, woods or elsewhere with nowhere else to call home.
A living, work-in-progress, document anonymously co-written by various peers (those with lived experience, knowledge and insights, because we have been there and have done that).
In solidarity. Don’t give up!!!
We thank Mr. Potter for the update on the litigation over our emergency homeless shelter.
We had two comments tonight: first on the EHRV emergency shelter, and second, on the Fair Evictions and Rents amendment . One issue comes from the other.
In a selectboard meeting January 2021 we offered free housing for a police officer or substation at BCS corporate headquarters on Washington Street. It was part of our SAFE Policing project to start community policing. One of the vehicles in our emergency shelter is actually a mobile office, and quite suited as a substation or as a dental lab.
NOTICE : This doesn’t mean anyone should move out. It only means that the compassion is misplaced.
Imagine you’re homeless, living in a car for five years, and you hear about a new law that says everyone with an apartment can keep it forever.
They say the endless lease is compassionate >> If you already HAVE a place, you’ll be able to stay your whole life if you want, regardless of a signed agreement, regardless of someone waiting to move in, regardless of homeless people waiting in the snow.
For those who were not already aware of it, Brattleboro resident and author Matt Whalan will be among two speakers at an event on homelessness held at Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier this evening at 6:30 PM and aired live by ORCA Media (via YouTube):
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.
Although I have since discontinued engaging in activism and advocacy (save for continuing to focus on access to public restrooms and related matters for a few more months or so), in case you missed it and it is of interest, I just stumbled upon this commentary of mine that is in the legislative record concerning attitudes regarding people living houseless (i.e., unhoused aka homeless), fyi:
In case it is of interest, fyi:
Commentary (of mine): No Public Relief?:
In case it is of interest, fyi:
In case you have not already come across it yet, a book on the subject of homelessness to consider obtaining and reading is:
“Homeless Anything Helps” by Vermont author Matthew Vernon Whalan; An Oral History (2021; Hard Times Review Press; paperback):
In case it is of interest, fyi:
Archived video: Montpelier Homelessness Task Force Listening Session (12/22/2022):
In case you missed it and it is of interest, fyi:
An Opportunity to Learn from Community Members who are Homeless (Brattleboro, VT; via Vermont Journal):
Root Causes of Homelessness Presentation hosted at the Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier last month, archived video, fyi:
Kellogg Hubbard Library – Root Causes of Homelessness (via YouTube):
I. CALL TO ORDER – Emily Murphy Kaur, Committee Chair
II. Approval of Minutes from December 9, 2020
III. Update: Data on Low-Engagement
IV. Finalize Title 9 Policy Requests
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.”
Homelessness has been stopped in its tracks in Brattleboro. As I write this, there is not a single person that I am aware of that does not currently have shelter. This is an incredible achievement. What’s more incredible is that it was accomplished within the last 30 days.
As we saw COVID-19 advance toward Vermont, we at Groundworks Collaborative worked closely with our State partners to establish and enact guidance that eventually led to everyone that was without housing, or who was precariously housed, being able to access local motel rooms. It is quite remarkable that a vision Groundworks has held for our community—that everyone has their basic needs met with dignity—has become a reality during this crisis. This need not be an anomaly.
Groundworks’s staff have answered the call when needed most and I have to share my deep appreciation for their work—especially as they put themselves and their families at risk to come to work each day. Without them, we would not be able to be so effectively meeting our community’s basic needs.
BRATTLEBORO, VT—Brattleboro’s Seasonal Overflow Shelter (SOS) will open Monday, November 18th. After a successful first and second season located at the upper dormitory on the Winston Prouty campus (formerly the Austine School for the Deaf), Groundworks’ staff and Board are grateful for the opportunity to return to the space for a third year.
This year’s shelter will operate the same as prior years at this location: anyone seeking shelter will have to register for a bed through Groundworks Drop-In Center (at 60 South Main Street) between 9am and noon. Access to the shelter will only be permitted through transportation provided by Groundworks.
Brattleboro, Vt. – Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) invites singers and music lovers in the Tri-State region to start their holiday season at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, with the 48th annual Community Messiah Sing, a benefit for the homeless. Centre Congregational Church, at 193 Main Street in Brattleboro, has been home for the Sing since 1982 and for a few prior seasons as well.
Kenneth Olsson, conducting the Sing for a second season, is well known in the region as a performer in opera and musical theater productions as well as pianist, organist, and choral conductor. He has led FOMAG’s season-opening Guilford Festival Orchestra concerts since 2012 and in 2014 co-founded the Southern Vermont Lyric Theatre.
Groundworks Collaborative gave the Brattleboro Selectboard a report on the seasonal overflow shelter. They admitted they don’t have the resources to develop a temporary work program, though a new effort by Youth Services might be able to pull it off, perhaps by fall. Youth Services might get a new name, too, but that’s for another time.
The board adopted the FY19 Solid Waste and Parking Budgets, but left some decisions about parking meters, apps, and credit cards for a later discussion. Progress on energy audit matters was detailed, citizens pressed for more to be done, the skatepark is close to the fundraising finish line, grants have been applied for, and citizens were appointed to various Brattleboro committees and boards.
Also, two mentions of John Allen.