Quantcast

Worries over growing number of homeless in Rutland - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Worries over growing number of homeless in Rutland

Posted: Updated:
RUTLAND, Vt. -

"When you are doing 37,000 meals a year there is a need. And when you are going from 90 meals a day to 120, to 125, 130... They are there," said Sharon Russell, the executive director of the Open Door Mission.

Russell has been with the Open Door Mission for 37 years and says the homeless problem in Rutland is on the rise. The Open Door Mission has 51 beds, and Russell says they are full nearly every night. While Open Door Mission is consistently full, providing food and shelter for many, the problem is growing, and Russell says in plain sight.

"You might not see it downtown Rutland-- I see it downtown Rutland. But my eye is keyed into that. I can drive through downtown Rutland-- it's called reading the streets-- and they are there," Russell said.

The most recent survey by the Vermont Department for Children and Families found that approximately 2,900 Vermonters are homeless at any given time. And the largest concentrations of people in need are in Burlington and Rutland. The Open Door Mission is the only coed shelter in Rutland.

Reporter Ali Freeman: Do you think there is enough in Rutland, you are at capacity?

Sharon Russell: Yes, I do because nobody is going to go without a bed.

But others, like Pam Shambo with BROC Community Action, disagree and say the demand for housing is outstripping resources, especially for families.

"Part of the problem is there is not a family shelter in this area and there is definitely a need for one. We see the family end of it. Yes, we have shelters where men can go, single men and single women, but no family shelter," Shambo said.

And new state restrictions on the motel voucher system mean an estimated 20 percent of individuals and families who were put up in hotels last year will not qualify for that service this year. Shambo expects even more families seeking help, who have run out of places to go. But after seeing individuals abuse the voucher system, Russell says the new restrictions will end up helping those who need it the most.

"My street people keep me aware," Russell said. "They say, you know what, they are up there partying there every night. They don't appreciate it either, because they know the system that they need is being abused."

Russell says the bottom line is to make sure everyone is getting a hand up, not a handout.

Rutland City Police Chief James Baker says the department has dealt with the abuse of the voucher system and the illegal activity that took place. He says there needs to be a conversation about making sure people who will not qualify for a room this year, don't slip through the cracks.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Allergy sufferers brave ragweed season

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:08:26 GMT
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
    If you're sneezing, your nose is running and you're eyes are itchy once again this year -- you're not alone. Fall pollen counts are peaking in our region and proving tough for allergy sufferers looking to enjoy the outdoors.Despite a spate of heat and humidity, the signs of fall are undeniable. Cooler temperatures and color are on the way. And even though many think of spring as "allergy season" due to tree pollens, this time of year can be particularly tough for allergy sufferers, too -- bec...
  • 2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    2 charged with skid-steer joyride on I-89

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:01:16 GMT
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
    The theft of some construction vehicles caused chaos on the Interstate this weekend.
  • Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Holiday drivers find lower prices at the pump

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:59:21 GMT
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
    Drivers this holiday weekend found lower gas prices at the pump.
  • Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Sanders addresses Labor Day rally

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:52 GMT
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
    Community members gathered in Burlington's Battery Park Monday to celebrate Labor Day -- and hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.Union leaders addressed the importance of employees supporting one another. They also thanked the community for supporting Vermont's unions. Senator Sanders says the holiday is for working people to not only celebrate their gains, but to also address issues facing the working class."There's a lot of work in front of us if we're going to make sure that our kids and our ...
  • Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Bike racers wrap up weekend events

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:51:16 GMT
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
    The Green Mountain Stage Race took to the streets of Burlington Monday.
  • Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Authorities seize animals from Santa's Land

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:32:03 GMT
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
    The Windham County Sheriffs Department says it seized multiple animals from the theme park this weekend.
  • Body discovered in Massena

    Body discovered in Massena

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:02:43 GMT
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
    New York State Police are investigating an unidentified body found in Massena.
  • Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Community remembers O'Hagan's presence at Sheffield Field Days

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:54:21 GMT

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

    Sheffield Field Days is a Labor Day tradition -- attended by hundreds. But each year the event reminds the community who is missing.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.