Burlington to research homeless sheltering solutions, camping policies

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 10:45 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington residents Monday night urged the City Council to sanction camping for homeless residents.

Councilors unanimously passed a resolution to research the pros and cons of updating the city’s sheltering on public lands policy. The proposal will consider whether or not to allow camping in city parks and other properties and broadly examine all sheltering options to develop a potential plan for when the state hotel-motel voucher program ends this summer.

Supporters say the issue is urgent because soon hundreds of unhoused Vermonters will flood Chittenden County, and local shelters are overflowing.

“I call on this council to look at compassionate, tangible, resolute plans in dealing with this issue in providing adequate housing for these folks,” one resident said.

“Some of the folks I’ve talked to have tried to set up their tents in places where we’re not allowing it. If that was me, not only would I be feeling frustrated and unsafe but also just kind of at a loss about, ‘What can I do now?’” said another.

“What can we do to be bigger hearted, to be creative and to respect the humanity of everybody among us?” another resident said.

A couple of residents expressed opposition to the proposal suggesting city land and public parks are overrun with crime, and camping would exacerbate the problem.

Now, councilors, community organizations, and city staff will meet in June to discuss the next steps.

Related Stories:

What Vt. lawmakers got done and what could still be ahead in veto session

Burlington fire crews knock out flames at homeless encampment

6 Dems threaten to derail budget unless emergency housing money restored

Central Vt. officials concerned about influx of unhoused after changes to hotel program

Drugs complicating nonprofits’ efforts to shelter homeless

Vt. officials defend homeless hotel transition

Authorities clear more squatters from former YMCA

City, state officials vow to support Shelburne Rd. homeless shelter

Burlington looks at allowing camping in city parks to address homeless crisis