Questions remain about Burlington mayor’s homeless housing pod plan
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In one month, we could see the start of construction on new homeless housing in Burlington. That housing would be in the form of pods.
But there are still many questions about where those will be and what they will look like.
When the city shut down a homeless encampment on Sears Lane in Burlington’s South End, they said it wasn’t safe and the people who lived there deserved more options, including those pods.
We have been trying to find out more about those pods and where they might go, but the city won’t say, even though construction is supposed to start in a matter of weeks.
This all stems from Mayor Miro Weinberger’s 10-point plan to address housing issues in the city. One point-- 30 community pods built on city property like ones in Wisconsin. They will range in size from 60 to 120 square feet. They will have electricity and heating with communal bathrooms and shower facilities located nearby.
The City Council signed off on the idea, dedicating $1.4 million of ARPA funds to create and operate the low-barrier emergency shelter pod community.
WCAX News sent a public records request to the city to learn more about these pods and where they are going. The email exchanges the city gave us are heavily redacted. We can’t see anything about any potential locations.
I asked the mayor’s office about where the pods might go and was told there are still a few sites under consideration and they are not ready to announce the final proposed location.
The mayor’s office says they will make a presentation to the Public Works Commission next week, but they haven’t decided if that presentation will include their top pick or several potential sites.
I asked the mayor’s office whether the City Council and the public will be involved in determining the siting for the pods and they didn’t answer, but the timetable is drawing near.
The last time I spoke with the community economic and development director, they said they want to break ground in April.
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