Suggestion for Solution for Homeless Folks

Apparently, from what I am reading about Brattleboro and other areas there are restrictions on land use and local zoning ordinances and state laws, etc., etc., but what about “unrestricted land” for sale in Vermont?

If a few non-profits got together, and did some of those online fundraisers, maybe you all together could come up with enough money to buy “unrestricted” land in Vermont and a bunch of tents from a big box store like Home Depot or Walmart.

If you can find a property with a stream on in, people can take a dip to get clean.

Surviving in the Rough Handbook (a work-in-progress)

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!!!

What’s Next

Americans with guns are becoming more creative in their pursuit of killing and maiming people. It is an inevitable progression that will only get worse because lawmakers will never enact legislation to put limits on gun ownership. In fact, we may see this country go in the opposite direction as long as minority rule by right wing Republicans rules the day in the courts and in congress.

This year, to date, there have been 160 incidents where four or more people were killed or injured. Last year that number was 647. These numbers have no effect on the people who have the power to change this horrific situation because of the way that our political system works. If you give politicians a lot of money they will do what you want. That is why the gun lobby is so powerful.

Tragedy and Opportunity

When horrific tragedies happen we try to make sense of things. There are never easy answers and the pain of loss lingers for a long time. The recent murder of Leah Rosin-Pritchard, a social worker at Morningside homeless shelter in Brattleboro, creates a sense of loss for an entire community, even for people who did not know her.

She was a caring individual who was trying to make the world a better place. There will never be enough people like her because there are so many problems in our society that need attention. Homelessness is a societal problem that has been around for almost as long as there have been humans on the planet. The faces and the circumstances change but the basic problems remain.

So one thing we can do with the tragedy in our community is to honor Leah Rosin-Pritchard by shining a light on homelessness in our community and in the larger society with the hope that by speaking out we can make little changes that will make a difference in the lives of people who struggle to simply make a home for themselves.

Two Short Selectboard Comments from BCS – April 4, 2023

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.

Please Sign This Anti-War Petition for a Conversation With Bernie

Dear Vermont Friends and Neighbors (and Bernie Sanders constituents),

The Vermont Peace/Anti-War Coalition launched in January 2023. This Petition Letter to Senator Bernie Sanders is our first effort at gathering widespread Vermonters’ support for ending U.S. war making.  Many of us in Vermont believe it is time to unite on this issue–and not be divided. No matter what your views or affiliation, please join us in signing the letter to Senator Sanders asking him to review his foreign policy of writing blank checks to Ukraine and the weapons manufacturers. We are also asking for an in-person meeting to discuss Sanders bringing our views to Washington.

The Culture Wars Escalate

When the composition of the Supreme Court moved to the right religious fundamentalists and all kinds of right wing zealots felt empowered to reshape the world into their image of correctness. Abortion is now more difficult to obtain and all kinds of personal assaults on freedom, mostly on women, are taking place.

It would seem reasonable to think that humans would evolve in a more enlightened direction as time passes. But there is a significant segment of the population that has gained control of the political agenda and figured out how to give an inordinate amount of power to the minority.

One of the more deadly attacks by the right has been on the LGBTQ community. According to an NBC news report, “More than 100 bills targeting LGBTQ rights and queer life — from transgender health care to drag shows — have been filed in 22 states for 2023 so far, leading advocates to expect this year will set a new record for anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Forum for District 3 Residents on Town Issues Prior to Representative Town Meeting

In an effort to help Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting members better represent their constituents in District 3, there will be a public forum for District 3 residents at 3 pm on Sunday March 19 in the Parlor of the Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main Street. This citizens’ forum is intended to allow people who live in District 3 to express their concerns and to ask questions about Town issues in advance of the RTM meeting on March 25. RTM members from District 3 are being encouraged to attend to hear from their neighbors.

The warning for RTM which lists the articles on which RTM members will vote starts are page 8 of the Town Report which is located on the right side of the website. Just below that is a link to the Finance Committee’s report on the FY 2024 budget (and in the third paragraph of that report there is a link to the Committee’s guide for understanding how the Town budgets).

Author Matt Whalan Presenting On Homelessness

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):

Can The Beast Of Health Care Reform Be Revived?

It would be inspiring if Vermont was once again a national leader in health care reform efforts. When Peter Shumlin was Governor in the 2010’s reform activism was at a high point and the possibility of Vermont becoming the first state to implement a single payer system seemed real. When his administration ran the numbers, after costly studies were done, Shumlin decided that it was not politically feasible to move ahead and health care reform died in Vermont.

There is a bill now in the Vermont legislature that aims to revive some of those reform efforts. H.156 states, “The purpose of this act is to initiate the incremental implementation of Green Mountain Care by starting to provide comprehensive, affordable, high quality, publicly financed health care for all Vermonters in accordance with the principles established in 2011 Acts and Resolves No. 48. The act gradually expands the benefits available through Green Mountain Care over 10 years, beginning with publicly financed primary care in the first year, adding preventive dental and vision care in the second year, and adding the remaining health care services according to a schedule recommended by the Green Mountain Care Board’s Universal Health Care Advisory Group.”

icymi: Commentary of Mine in the VT Legislative Record

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:

Brattleboro Charter Amendment Hearing – Protections for Residential Tenants

The Brattleboro Selectboard will hold two public hearings to discuss a Charter Amendment. The first public hearing will be held on Friday, February 3, 2023 at 6:15pm in the Selectboard Meeting Room at the Municipal Center (230 Main Street) and the second public hearing will be held during a scheduled Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 6:15pm in the Selectboard meeting room.

A Moral Mandate

The U.S. Department of Justice has an opportunity to show the world that this country has an understanding of how not to repeat the worst events in human history. Jack Smith has been appointed to oversee the case against the most evil President ever to sit in the oval office. I hope that he is a student of history and that he understands how it is possible for a tide of fascism and human cruelty to sweep through a society if unchecked in its early stages.

If Trump is not punished for his attempt to overthrow the government of the United States then the door will be left open for others, such as the far right wing of the Republican party, to build a movement to continue to subvert the rule of law and open the door to not only minority rule but a new brand of fascism.

False Hope and Empty Promises

This is the time of year when politicians at all levels make the rest of us realize that there are promises more unrealistic than New Year’s resolutions.

We hear statements about how they are going to work to close the gap between the left and the right. We hear about ambitious agendas to make life better for everyone.

Then reality sets in and those politicians pander to special interests and they make it clear that their highest priority is getting re-elected. The public statements rarely match the results of political wrangling.

There is one issue in particular that has been pushed to the back burner for a number of years. In the mid-nineties and into about 2010 there was a lot of talk about health care reform. States such as Vermont tried to make bold moves to set up model systems and it started to look like meaningful reform might happen.