Brenda Siegel

Sergeant at Arms Janet Miller bars activists from marching onto the floor of the House of Representatives chamber as they protest the end of the state’s program to house homeless people in motels before a veto session of the Legislature at the State House in Montpelier on Tuesday, June 20.

Legislation falls far short of the goal

State funding for motel program will still ultimately cause thousands of people to end up on the street, and it does not meet the scale of the crisis with a responsible solution

The current language for the General Assistance Emergency Housing Amendment to H.171 - designed to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the state sponsored unsheltering of already nearly 1,000 people - has serious problems.

This legislation, passed on June 20, lacks evidence-based language, rules, and solutions, and it will create additional hurdles to the population experiencing homelessness, including those that are currently in the program.

Read More

A mass unsheltering of almost all of our most vulnerable

This is one of the most cruel acts that our state government could perpetrate among those who struggle the most with poverty

The Committee of Conference has reached an agreement on the budget as it affects people using the General Assistance Motel Program. This agreement creates a preventable humanitarian crisis caused by a state-sponsored unsheltering of nearly 3,000 people, including 500 to 600 children. This is a deliberate and abject failure...

Read More

Brave enough to lose

‘I was not willing to leave the most vulnerable Vermonters on the battlefield without someone to rise alongside them, and so I did it anyway’

Susan B. Anthony gave her whole life to the work of voting rights for women. Her whole life. Then she died on the eve of its inevitability. The work is about making progress, fighting for us to have safer and stronger communities. We all need to become brave enough...

Read More


We succeeded in the big ask. But more work remains.

Lives will be saved this year. That cannot be understated. When we announced that we would be staying on the State House steps on Oct. 14, the barrier for people without shelter to use the General Assistance Motel Program (GA Motels) was so high that many, even those who qualified, could not get in. As a result, we set our bar high on demands and said from the start that we would not compromise on people's lives. On Nov. 10...

Read More

There is no reason for any Vermonter to be without shelter now

Calijah Lindvall, from Brattleboro, was exited from the General Assistance (GA) Motel program, with the first round of Vermonters exited from their shelter on July 1. Just under two months later, he died of an overdose. Calijah's death was both predictable and preventable. Now Vermont has the choice of whether to save other vulnerable Vermonters or to let many more fall to similar fates. Calijah's mom, Keri Lindvall, was extremely concerned that her son was being destabilized. He suffered from...

Read More

Today, a new drug policy — one that will save lives

Today, Vermonters who are struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD) were given a long-awaited additional tool for survival. As of now there are no longer criminal penalties for possession of up to 224 milligrams of buprenorphine, a life-saving medication for folks with OUD. Today, Vermont made history as the first state in the nation to enact a bill of this nature and through legislative process. As Sen. Dick Sears Jr., D–North Bennington, said, “This is an example of the legislative...

Read More