As temperatures drop and December 25th draws near many feel fortunate to be heading home for the holidays. Rita Markley, Executive Director of the Committee On Temporary Shelter, asks us to think of those who don't have a home, or even a warm place to go. "30 years ago, 40 years ago people who worked full time did not have to turn to a charity for a place to sleep at night," Markley said.
Thursday on Church Street COTS celebrated 30 years of service, Markley reflected on how difficult homelessness in Burlington has become. "It's a 1% vacancy rate, the recession continues, wages haven't kept pace with housing costs so of course people are losing their homes or housing is precarious," Markley said.
As COTS illuminates this issue outside city hall, the development review board debates two proposals for homeless shelters this winter season. "It's basically going to be run the same way, whether it's a hostel or serving needs as a quote unquote shelter," said Brad Rabinowitz, member of the Burlington Development review board.
One proposal the board is considering, turning the Burlington Hostel into a place for the homeless to go. A program that would require financial support from the state. The other proposal would turn the gymnasium of the Alliance Church on North Avenue into a homeless shelter. That proposal has become contentious as the church runs a full-time daycare in the same facility. Markley says neither leads to a solution. "We need more housing the answer to homelessness is not shelter," she explained.
Markley says despite increased homelessness, they did see some success this year. COTS prevented 233 at risk families from losing their homes, Markley says this saved the state more than a million dollars in potential hotel bills as the state has been putting homeless families in hotels when shelters are full.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:57:36 GMT
Teamwork between a Montgomery farmer and a corporal with the Franklin Country sheriff's department may have saved a life when they pulled off a daring rescue. A woman became trapped in her truck tryingMore >>
It was a lifesaving rescue in the nick of time. A Franklin County sheriff's deputy put his life on the line to save a woman trapped in a truck with floodwaters raging around her. More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:58:34 GMT
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin (D-Vermont), VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath. ShumlinMore >>
After this week's whirlwind weather events and major flooding Tuesday, Governor Shumlin, VTrans and state transportation officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the aftermath.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:34:35 GMT
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains. There were localized areas of high water and damage, like a road washout on Mud Hollow Road in Kirby. Water remainsMore >>
It looks like our region escaped any major flooding resulting from Tuesday's heavy rains.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:02 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:02:05 GMT
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York. The governor made the declaration Tuesday night. It covers six counties in northeastern of New York, including two inMore >>
The floods forced Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency in New York.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:08:35 GMT
If you thought the weather Tuesday really stunk, you weren't alone. Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers were too much for even a beaver. WCAX Producer Diane Landry caught video Tuesday in MiltonMore >>
Apparently all the rain and the rushing rivers in our region Tuesday were too much for even a beaver.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:09:50 GMT
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont. SheldonMore >>
If you think this spring has been filled with strange weather-- cold, then hot, then flooding, then snow-- well, we have a reminder that fluctuating weather is not all that unusual in Vermont.More >>