Storm leaves COTS Daystation homeless - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Storm leaves COTS Daystation homeless

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Every day William Whalen heads to the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) Daystation for lunch.

"Otherwise we wouldn't have any more than that. They have that regularly and we depend on it," Whalen said.

But now the place he and about 60 other people depend on for lunch is without a home itself.

"We came this morning, walked down the stairs and this was covered with mud," said Rita Markley of COTS.

Severe storms Wednesday night with more than an inch of rain in 20 minutes left the Daystation with more than a foot of water inside.

"We've been here since 1996 and have never seen anything like this," Markley said.

The daytime shelter is more than just a free meal at noon; it gives the homeless access to laundry, telephones, computers, mailboxes, and job and housing groups. But all of that is on hold until the Daystation finds a temporary home.

"Just powerful dehumidifiers and air dryers; we'll remove the interior walls to make sure the wall cavities and ceiling cavities are dried," said Patrick Dattilio of Champlain Housing Trust.

People served by the Daystation have been showing up ready to help, but organizers say the hazardous septic water that is mixed in makes this job just too dangerous.

"It's devastating when the place that helps the homeless has suddenly lost its home," Markley said.

Officials say all the water and sewage damage will take at least a month to fix.

"It isn't an option for a place like COTS not to recover," Markley said.

COTS is still looking for a temporary location for its Daystation for the next month. For more information -- www.cotsonline.org -- www.facebook.com/COTSonline -- call 802-864-7402 -- or email volunteer@cotsonline.org

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