Letters: End of emergency housing means hundreds will die / Fed court could impact S.5 / Dem hypocrisy on fossil fuel

To the editor:

Homeless deaths predicted – The Committee Of Conference has reached an agreement on the budget as it affects people currently utilizing the General Assistance Motel Program. This agreement creates a preventable humanitarian crisis caused by a state sponsored unsheltering of nearly 3000 people, including 500 to 600 children. This is a deliberate and abject failure of our state legislature and governor to care for those who are most vulnerable in our state.

In the past couple of months, nearly 200 people utilizing the program have written to their legislators as well as Senate Protem and Speaker of the House, telling their personal stories and pleading with them to treat their lives with the same value that they give their own values. I can’t imagine any other constituency who would be ignored in such an overt and overwhelming way.

People in power have a responsibility to treat the lives of fellow human beings with dignity and that has not been achieved in the proposed state budget. According to recent data, 10% to 30% of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness will die as a result. That is 300 to 700 of these individuals. We are trading the lives and well being of fellow humans for “other priorities”, because “the program just has to end some time”. We should instead be creating a responsible transition that does not leave people unsheltered. 

This legislative session myself and other advocates have offered multiple proposals and plans that would create that transition. Those plans received very little or no consideration. Vermont has the second highest rate of homelessness in the country and we are responding to it by orchestrating an unsheltering of almost all of our most vulnerable. 

I have visited 16 hotels and spoken to 1000 of these individuals. Those exited will include people on oxygen, people who have just had surgery, people in recovery, people with mental illness that has finally been stabilized, 500 to 600 children, single moms, people who have devices that need to be plugged in and more. This is one of the most cruel acts that our state government could perpetrate among those who struggle the most with poverty. 

When these families are sent outside with nowhere to go, they will be exited to our downtowns, to our communities. Our communities do not have the resources to support a mass unsheltering of people across the state. This will not be a few people without what they need, this will be thousands of individuals who are desperate for survival and our state government will have put them there. 

There is no excuse for the suffering and pain that will be caused by this inhumane budget. – Brenda Siegel, Newfane

Federal court ruling casts shadow on S.5? – Three federal court judges just rescued your gas stove and other gas-fired appliances from the nanny state.

Yesterday, in a unanimous opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the nation’s first ban on natural gas, put in place by the City of Berkeley in 2019, violates federal law. The three judges found that the city’s ordinance was preempted by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which prohibits the implementation of regulations that favor one type of fuel over another.
Vermont is making it policy to favor electricity over all other fuel types, is it not? Has the legislature exposed taxpayers to a potentially expensive lawsuit? – Jacqueline Brook, Putney

The Vermont Senate voted Tuesday to accelerate The Collapse, overriding the Governor’s S.5 veto.

Vermont Democrats perpetuate fossil-fuel hypocrisy – Now there is a record of the Democratic and Progressive political hypocrisy, scientific ignorance, class discrimination, and an abandonment of the powerless and working class not just by partisan politicians, but by Democratic political operatives at Sierra Club, Rights and Democracy, VPIRG, VNRC, and Vermont “Conservation” Voters.

Let’s see now if House Democrats attempt to continue to perpetuate the Biden lies and charade. Biden drills; we pay the bills.
The party continues at the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) Hula party on Thursday (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/33rd-annual-vbsr-conference-tickets-602720341767), brought to us by … Vermont Gas Systems–the foreign-owned corporation paying us to switch to fracked gas, not heat pumps.

Thank you Senators Mazza, Starr, and Wrenner, for being the exception. And don’t forget to get your $500 from VGS for switching to a heat pump fossil furnace.

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. – James Ehlers, Vermonters for a Clean Environment

Categories: Opinion

20 replies »

  1. S.5 unaffordable Heat Act needs to have a Tombstone over it period!!

  2. So when you gonna do something for home owners? We’re going bankrupt right now and you keep thinking it’s our responsibility to take care of people living on us in motels. Everyone place is hiring tell em to get a job and pay for there own housing. When I drive by the motel next to me and see young fit people outside drinking, smoking cigarettes in their cell phones they could be doing a lot to help themselves. I’ve had to shut of stuff I couldn’t afford, I’m out of heat for the year. Sorry but you Democrats created this problem. As you write articles like this illegals are entering our borders every day adding to the problem. Problem is we don’t have any fit people running this country or this state

    • Every time you see someone on the public dole enjoying a cigarette, realize due to the high taxes that is a $300/month addiction. However, you wont see any sympathy from the legislators for those junkies, only a toll-free phone number telling you to quit. If your addiction of choice happens to be with opioids, the same legislators will fall all over themselves to tell you that you are a victim of the ruthless pharmaceutical industry. Opioid abusers are actually the victims of a failed democrat border policy allowing tons of deadly fentanyl to poison our citizenry.

  3. Hey Brenda, no matter how many more facilities paid for by working taxpayers to provide housing for those who dont have the resources or would rather spend it on “other priorities”, there will always be more who seek to take advantage of an expensive service or product provided gratis. Yes, most people accept that some level of basic shelter is a “human right”, but giving junkies and thieves the luxury and privacy of a long-term stay in a hotel room that many working Vermonters cannot afford even for a recreational weekend is way over the top. The death toll predictions are a bit over the top, even for you.

    • Like feeding and caring for a stray animal, feed them once and they will return. I feel sorry for stray animals but most stray humans can improve their lives by doing whatever they need to getting them back on their feet. Animals do not have a choice. Others have accepted the life style and the word gets out that Vermont has great benefits and you don’t have to prove anything, just sign up.

      This woman is delusional and has no idea how to fix anything because her agenda and feelings rule her mind. Look at the southern border, they heard that Joe Biden had opened the border and here they are by the thousands. DHS hands them a free cell phone and a bus ticket to somewhere in America. We are being led by people bent on destroying America.

      • Stray animals tend to show, in their simplistic animal way some appreciation for the generosity and realize where it is coming from. Can’t say the same for many of their human counterparts who display mostly a sense of entitlement…

  4. So…….all the homeless here will die. Like drama huh? Go see a play.
    But before you go, do something useful for these people you proclaim to care so much about and PROPERLY resolve this problem by:
    1.) Work on attaining mental help or meds or permanent hospitalization for those with psychiatric illnesses.
    2.) Assist and then require these people to attain and retain EMPLOYMENT.
    3.) Force those with addictions into long-term drug rehabilitation centers
    You and your party & the D.C. swamp CREATED these issues, you and your party and the D.C. swamp SOLVE them!!!!!!!!

    • Our polititians idea of doing something is providing places for people to “safely” shoot up with drugs.

  5. If their math is anything like the math they used on Covid, then it will be far less. They said 10% of the US population would succumb to Covid. Have we surpassed 35 million people? People did pass, but hey the flu was eradicated for two years! What an amazing accomplishment their math skills. Home school your children.

  6. Also, there are no homeless citizens in the US! That is why Biden is letting so many break the laws on immigration.

  7. I am a transplant from Michigan -No Michigan homeless person has ever had the luxury of the govt putting them up in a motel -no matter how crummy the motel , even in the middle of Polar Votex Winter .. If VT Govt want to put up the homeless into motels ? it needs to be paid with grant funds OR Vt govt needs to schmooze its weathy land/homeowners , its lawmakers with lavish fundraisers to loosen their wallets .never from the taxes of its hard working struggling with high cost of living citizens .

  8. And where were these folks living before the pandemic $ flowed to put them in hotels and motels? This was a temporary stopgap when the economy tanked during the pandemic.

    • Many were elsewhere, but came to the area because they heard there were long-term stays in motel rooms provided for free, based only on an honor-system claim of homelessness. It’s not complicated. If the program is cut back, many will move on to greener pastures. It’s tough though, since Vermont is a very green pasture of public benefits, many based on the honor system.

  9. I may have missed something here. But , according to Alexa ( my new and exciting supplier of unimpeachable data and general information) there are or have been 1020 homeless people in Vermont at this time. Somehow millions have been spent on housing over 3000 people recently in VT. We seem to be double counting or adding others into the count. Regardless, the public appetite to continue this avenue of dole appears to be waning.

    I understand the need to take care of families with children. I understand that there needs to be accountability of the parents to take care of their children at some point in time. I understand mental illness pervades the homeless population along with drug abusers . I also understand that the unemployment rate has been below 3% for a long time. If you want a job get a job. You are not entitled to perpetual care at some else’s expense.

    Making a false claim that hundreds will die as a result of reduced money for hotels for the homeless is not closely factual to any degree. Rest assured VT Digger would have and will report on each and every instance It poorly attempts to raise fears based on near criminal-negligent selective data. Giving this person a platform to say this is not a good choice. Populate you comments with facts not fear. Work towards resolution. Warehousing in hotels only displaces the population which should be cared for in another manner.

  10. Brenda Siegel’s claims of death tolls fails to include those who will die alone of opioid overdoses/poisonings specifically because they were provided with the anonymity and privacy of their own hotel room. In a communal shelter situation, there would be others who would be around to help them. This is YET ANOTHER proposed “harm reduction” program that is actually causing harm. Another such example are the needle “exchange” programs, meant to provide clean needles to prevent disease transmission, but they are not actually “exchanges” that require that you turn in your dirty ones…they simply give away needles. The old, disease-contaminated needles get discarded in public places where they are contacted by children and pets. Junkies make the decision to engage in the risks of IV drug use, but the children and pets are now subject to the risk as well. That is NOT good harm reduction policy.

  11. The hyperbole is misguided. What is the cause of homelessness in Vermont? Corruption, lies, deception, and thievery. The grifter’s paradise is reaping what it sows. The tares are coming up faster than jewelweed. We will be receiving busloads of immigrants – guaranteed. Case in point, Portland, Maine is filled above capacity. “Sanctuary” cities around Vermont will be inundated because they asked for it. The piper is going to be paid. In Chicago, the black community is raging because the “new arrivals” are taking over their spaces and taking their benefits. Let the chaos unfold and Vermonters will be in for a roundhouse knockout punch they never saw coming. The SJW Left and RINOS are destroying themselves along with the State. I am sorry to witness the human suffering, but the blood is squarely on their hands and it will not wash out.

    • You do present an optimistic view of the advantages of providing benefits as a reward for violating our border laws…many Americans may realize what dopes they voted for in the democrat party and smarten up and look at the alternative…

  12. I am so sorry I found this article so late in the game. But I just gotta say:

    In the mid 1980’s I became the first north eastern “Service Coordinator” for a homeless shelter. I worked with my clients to make sure they had financial, medical and shelter needs by the time they left. Then I did after care. Phone calls and home visits to just make sure everything was going to plan.

    My shelter had the lowest recidivism rate in the state I lived in.

    I was fired.

    The painful lesson was this: The purpose of gov’t and social service agencies is self-perpetuation. Success does NOT fill the coffers.

    Relevent to today: I can tell you from first hand experience, increased welfare program monies have been put into place for illegal aliens. That is a fact. If people really understood this, accepted this reality, things could be SO different.

    These monies have been poured into special food trucks that give out specifically ordered sandwiches and the like for free. Just for illegals.

    How about the money vouchers so that they can go to The Resource Center for free clothing, furniture and appliances. Just for illegals.

    Apartments are paid for during their first 3 months. But wait. There’s MORE. After that program runs out, they are simply transferred to another…and then another…and then another. Just for illegals.

    Special health care is available to take care of these people. And get this: they were NEVER required to wear a mask or get a shot. Just for illegals.

    I could go on. And on. But what’s the point?