‘This is a moment for all of us to show up’

BRATTLEBORO — The workers in Windham County who deliver public and human services are much-loved unsung heroes of our towns.

On April 3, a tragic death occurred at Morningside House, the shelter run by Groundworks Collaborative.

Groundworks is one of the recipients of a few thousand dollars each year from the Town of Brattleboro. Our human services workers - at Groundworks and beyond - show up every day to provide the tough work of providing care in a fraying and violent society. If ever there were a time to support our human services workers, this would be it.

As an elected member of Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting, I was proud to vote last month for improvements to Living Memorial Park which included critical upgrades for the skating rink facility. But I'm also proud of another vote, for a much smaller budget line item: A tiny increase to the portion of the 2025 town budget for human services.

We voted to increase support for human service agencies by a fraction of a percentage point to 2% of the overall fiscal year 2025 budget. Compared to the multi-million dollar project of improving our park facilities, or spending tens of thousands marketing our town, the relatively small increase for human services garnered more expressions of fear of increased taxes than perhaps anything else on the agenda.

But the majority of people at Representative Town Meeting voted to support the increased investments in the people of our town with greatest need - older adults, young people, people who are unhoused, and other residents.

I am proud to live in a town that, after much debate, ultimately chose generosity over fear at Representative Town Meeting.

This is a moment for all of us to show up - with our best, kindest selves.

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