MONTPELIER — The ACLU of Vermont has presented its highest honor to housing advocate Brenda Siegel for "her courageous advocacy on behalf of people experiencing housing insecurity in Vermont."
"We are pleased to honor Brenda Siegel in recognition of her persistent and inspiring advocacy on behalf of the many Vermonters who are unhoused, facing eviction, or struggling to pay their rent," ACLU of Vermont President Bill Boyd said in a news release. "With great integrity and compassion, she has centered their voices and lived experiences, acted where the state has failed to act, and focused attention on these injustices in our communities-and the urgent need for solutions."
The ACLU notes that this has been an especially difficult year for people facing housing insecurity in Vermont, which now has the second-highest rate of homelessness in the country.
Amid a statewide housing crisis, the governor and state policymakers sought to end Vermont's emergency housing program, and hundreds of people lost shelter before a partial compromise was reached in June. A month later, catastrophic flooding displaced hundreds more from their homes and sheltering sites.
"As an outspoken advocate in the State House, Brenda Siegel has refused to let policymakers ignore the real-world consequences of their decisions," said ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall. "By speaking truth to power, she changed the conversation, highlighting the impacts of Vermont's ongoing housing policy failures on the lives of real people, and pointing the way towards a more humane and equitable state for all of us."
Past recipients of the David W. Curtis Civil Liberties Award include Vermont NAACP leadership, Migrant Justice, Bob Gensburg, Beth Robinson, Phil Hoff.
This Town and Village item was submitted to The Commons.