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Vt. loses a man who dedicated his life to helping the homeless - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. loses a man who dedicated his life to helping the homeless

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Seventeen years ago, Matt Young helped create the Howard Center's Street Outreach Team, connecting those struggling with homelessness or addiction to services. Before, many of the neediest in Burlington had nowhere to turn.

Now, those Young served and those who served beside him are grief-stricken after he died earlier this week.

"He just had an ability to make everybody feel comfortable, from somebody struggling, living on the streets to Senator Leahy and everybody in between," said Tammy Boudah of the Howard Center Street Outreach Team.

Young brought compassion and understanding to the job but also demanded accountability from his clients. He helped bridge what could be a contentious divide between those in need on the street, police and business owners in Burlington.

We met Becca, who is homeless, downtown.

"I know it's basically he's an angel with the angels now and he's in less pain. But it's still devastating, really sad," she said.

Becca didn't want us to show her face but wanted to share just how much Young helped her and others, providing sleeping bags, finding shelter and checking in daily, always with his signature human touch.

"He was a godsend, literally and I'm really going to miss him," she said.

Those who worked with Young share similar sentiments, saying they'll continue to push forward in his honor, modeling his leadership, strategies and compassion.

"We will miss him dearly, my God, we will miss him," said Ron Redmond of the Howard Center Street Outreach Team and the Church Street Marketplace. "But we will continue."

The Howard Center says a community memorial honoring Young is in the works.

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