Ellen Pratt

In Putney, a housing crisis flies under the radar

More than 40 people are unhoused in one small town, and residents struggle with a crisis that’s seemingly invisible

People experiencing homelessness live in a range of conditions.

Some live in motels, like the more than 93 Brattleboro households participating in the state's General Assistance Emergency Housing Program. Others, largely uncounted, live in tents in the woods, in friends' barns and sheds, in cars, garages, and campers - all situations that do not meet all the human needs for comfort and security.

In Putney, approximately 40 people live outside and in campers, according to Fire Chief Tom Goddard, who keeps this count through his "well-person" checks.

"There's been a fairly decent increase in homelessness in Putney since the end of the pandemic," said Goddard. "We're starting to see camper trailers popping up everywhere. Sometimes that's the only option these folks have for any type of actual shelter."...

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Middle ground

A state project brings a fresh look to Vermont’s urgent need for more housing of the right size — and Bellows Falls is one of five places in Vermont where these ideas will take shape

On a recent mid-October day, tourists mingled with locals in Village Square Booksellers, a young DIY-er in jeans bought a screwdriver at J&H Hardware, and clusters of lunchgoers sat in the windows of the Moon Dog Cafe. Groups of children, home from an early-release school day, played in the...

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Ranks of the unhoused keep growing in state

In report to Joint Fiscal Committee, commissioner of the DCF outlines increasing needs and the actions needed to meet them

The number of unsheltered people in Vermont is increasing, according to Chris Winters, commissioner of the Agency of Human Services' Department of Children and Families (AHS/DCF). "We're seeing as many people coming into homelessness now as are exiting - even more," Winters reported at the Sept. 27 meeting of...

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One town struggles with housing issues

Short-term rentals (STRs), like those listed on websites like Airbnb and VRBO, are adversely affecting the housing market. That's according to the town's "Housing Needs Assessment and Strategy" report, published in April. The report acknowledges that, while not solely responsible, STRs have contributed to rising housing prices and a decline in the availability of long-term rental housing. There are more than 300 active short-term rentals in the Londonderry area, an increase of 62% over the past three years, as reported...

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Funding in place to move families living in danger of flooding

With the final piece of financing approved on Sept. 11 by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Tri-Park Cooperative Housing Corporation, which owns three Brattleboro mobile home parks - Mountain Home Park, Glen Park, and Black Mountain Park - is set to implement flood resiliency projects outlined in its 2020 Master Plan. The majority of the $6 million in federal and state grant funds assembled for the project will be used for a voluntary buyback program to relocate 26 Mountain Home...

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Flood plain will be restored by Whetstone River

It might seem crazy to buy land with the hope that it will flood, but that's exactly what the Vermont River Conservancy (VRC) has done through its purchase of 12 acres along the Whetstone Brook. With permits in place, VRC and the town of Brattleboro are jointly cleaning up and restoring the land to its former flood plain status in an effort to reduce future flood damage downtown. VRC, whose mission is to permanently protect special lands along Vermont's rivers,

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New housing in the works for an area starved for options

If plans come to fruition, more than 600 mixed-income units would be added to the area's housing stock, which comes as welcome news to those working to address the urgent need for more housing in Windham County and throughout the state. With the end of the state's pandemic-era temporary shelter program, 113 households living in local motels have until April 1, 2024 to find housing or face eviction. An unknown number of households are sheltering in tents in the area.

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New food project goes the extra mile

Thanks to a six-month, $5,000 grant from the United Way of Windham County, 25 people, mostly elders, have been receiving weekly deliveries of easy-to-prepare meals and groceries. These participants in the Last Mile Food Project also receive monthly deliveries of fresh vegetables from the Vermont Foodbank's VeggieVanGo program. Additionally, a local resident, Winnie Dolan, prepares homemade meals for monthly delivery. Those receiving the free groceries and meals live in the West River Valley, which includes Jamaica, Townshend, Brookline, Newfane, and...

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