Emergency housing in RVs: a good, simple plan

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Common Sense has a broad and practical agenda to address the housing crisis, including emergency housing in RVs. Rights and Democracy (RAD) and BCS are working out a joint proposal not for eviction alone, but also for rent control. We hope it will be a model for the state campaign.

Since BCS started negotiating with the Selectboard on the Fair Evictions and Rents Law (FERL) in 2020, we have consulted with many allies and are ready and eager to proceed with a petition drive. RAD is not endorsing the BCS emergency housing plan.

BCS believes Vermont must enact fair evictions and rent controls together for housing retention, but these acts would offer no protection for the people moving into the local economy or people who are most vulnerable in our society — the many people or who are already homeless.

BCS is developing policy for emergency housing in RVs so that people can rent out space for RVs on land in town. Property owners can donate space or get extra income.

Brattleboro officially needs 500 rental units as soon as possible. Officials around Vermont have plans for big housing construction projects and for new ways to pay for them, but big construction projects take years. They will be of no help to homeless people this winter and no help to other people moving here to live.

Besides that, there is a shortage of construction workers because of the labor shortage, and no place for them to live, because there is a housing shortage.

So, big construction projects are a shortsighted plan.

Emergency housing in RVs is a good, simple plan. RVs can be complete separate rental units, or they can be used like a detached bedroom. Creating one can be as quick as buying a car.

People in non-profit organizations around town and people in town government have been very helpful, and we invite everyone to join us and develop these new policies. BCS’s first RV has arrived. It’s as cool as a baby elephant and deserves a name.

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