RE: “‘You killed Joe. Enough!’” [Special Focus, Sep. 15]:
On behalf of the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust, we’d like to address some important issues raised by Great River Terrace residents JoAnne Rodriguez Heckman and Benjamin Heckman.
In the past three years, WWHT has created two good-sized permanent supportive housing communities, Great River Terrace on Putney Road and the Chalet in West Brattleboro. Both projects involved placing local homeless folks in permanent supportive housing, which is to say housing with on-site professional supports designed to help residents succeed in their goal to stay successfully housed. These supports include case managers from Groundworks, HCRS, and other community agencies.
Several factors have made the early success of these efforts more challenging.
First, the Covid pandemic took many of these supports off site for as long as a year. Second, the pandemic created much more stress on a population that had already experienced excessive trauma. Third, WWHT’s community partners experienced unexpected difficulties in staffing these residences, also related to the pandemic.
And finally, the combination of the Covid eviction moratorium and the standard lengthy five-month eviction process in Vermont have made it overly difficult to move along residents who are not ready for this type of community living and disrupt the well-being of other residents.
WWHT recognizes the hardships placed on our other excellent tenants by these conditions. We are working diligently with our partners to ensure ample on-site support to our residents.
And we have added two full-time housing support people to our own staff to make sure we maintain the quality this community has come to expect from WWHT.
Please bear with us as we persevere in our efforts to provide safe, responsible, and affordable housing to low- and moderate-income folks, as well as the formerly homeless, in Brattleboro and southeast Vermont.
Marion Major (WWHT)