Burlington officials showcase pod shelters
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington’s low-barrier shelter facility is nearly done and will be welcoming its 35 residents over the next several weeks.
The city on Monday opened the shelter for a tour to see the work completed at the Old North End site over the past year.
Starting this week, the shelter will start accepting residents. Last week, organizers announced changes to the rules for people living there. That includes signing off on not using drugs or alcohol while in the pods. All residents will have the opportunity to stay for six months with the ability to extend that based on their needs.
The facility includes 23 prefabricated single-occupancy pods, and five double-occupancy pods, as well as a community center where residents will have access to food, services, and programs. Two more single units are expected to arrive soon and officials expect to have all of the pods occupied by the end of the month, Eighty people applied for the 35 beds, officials said. There will also be two people on-site at all times, including security.
“Residents in this low-barrier shelter will have greater independence and ability to manage their lives here than is possible in congregate shelters. In addition, here at Elmwood, homeless community members will have access to numerous services and support under one roof, from recovery services to basic needs to health care and mental health support,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.
“The need for this project to open is so acute,” said Samantha Dunn, the city’s assistant director for community works.
During the sub-zero temperatures and dangerous wind chills last week, the city opened an emergency shelter on Thursday through the weekend, Mayor Miro Weinberger said.
The shelter pod community was expected to open in late November, but the schedule was delayed, by supply chain, labor, and other issues, an official said.
The city used mainly federal coronavirus relief funding for the development, which cost a total of $1.6 million.
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