City leaders exploring options for Burlington homeless encampment

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington city leaders are trying to figure out what’s next after an attempt to find an organization to manage a homeless encampment fell through.

The city says it received no responses to a request for proposals to manage the Sears Lane homeless encampment in the city’s South End.

Last month, the city put out the RFP with the goal of finding people to help manage the encampment on city property.

Some neighbors were not happy with the improvement plans, sharing concerns about safety and cleanliness at the site. The city said having oversight would increase safety at the encampment.

Tuesday, City Councilor Joan Shannon, who represents the ward where the encampment sits, told WCAX News that getting no responses was predictable and she believes that it was never going to work.

“An RFP to manage an unmanageable site is not likely to get a high response rate from our nonprofit community that’s already stretched to their limits,” said Shannon, D-Burlington City Council.

Shannon also expressed frustration the city and state have failed to provide a public safety net for the homeless population that would make camps like the one on Sears Lane unnecessary.

The deadline for proposals was Oct. 5. With no responses, city leaders say they are regrouping to explore other options.

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