COTS supporters hit the street - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

COTS supporters hit the street

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It's a never-ending battle that can only be won by the community working together Sunday that happened one step at a time. "The one thing they share is a belief that no one should be left without a home, not in our community," said Rita Markley, Executive Director of COTS.
And as participants made stops at homeless shelters and housing centers along their three mile walk, that community support could be seen at every corner.
"We're really committed to helping homeless people in our community, so I'm here walking with a lot of other people from my church," said Rev. Peter Cook with the First Congregational Church.

But the job isn't over yet. Rita Markley is working hard to make sure all of the issues Vermont has battled with homelessness don't go unnoticed, and the biggest problem we face today is housing. "Part of it is the challenge of being a rural state but everybody wants to live here and there's a lot of competition for the housing we have," Markley said.

Sunday's walk isn't just for the homeless, COTS is also working to help those who have homes, but are at risk of loosing them. "Last year resources -- money -- that was raised at events like this went to prevent homelessness for 263 households," Markley said.

And some of those donations come from volunteers, like Jack Kearnan, who once depended on the COTS but is now raising money to help keep families off the streets. "Unfortunately, people do lose their jobs and there are a lot of families that need some help to get back on their feet," Kearnan said.

Eric LaFave is another volunteer, who was once homeless, but is now helping those in need with the gift of guitar at Sunday's walk. "I know what that's like to kind of have that worry in your mind and not having any place to go and COTS really gives people an option," he said.

COTS will continue to give families that option by providing shelter for those who are homeless, and assistance for those who aren't.

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