by John McClaughry
A major issue dividing Democrats and Gov. Scott is what to do with some 2,800 homeless who’ve been relying on a state-run motel program that is weeks away from terminating.
Apparently, everyone agrees that this can’t go on without the Federal COVID relief funding that is now disappearing.
At the last-minute left-leaning lawmakers and advocates, persuaded the Legislature to add $12.5 million to the budget but that just kicks the can down the road. Gov. Scott says no.
Burlington is most acutely aware of the problem since, as one prominent Burlingtonian accurately observed, “Burlington has all the services – you can get excellent medical care, three hot meals a day and be around the action. So that’s where the homeless congregate.”
Maybe Burlington should ask the homeless to serve in a community improvement corps in return for all the benefits that are attracting them there…But then Burlington would have to say No to the homeless who didn’t care to participate. Progressives can’t bring themselves to say no to people they believe to be victims of something or other.
Another approach would be to export the problem. Homeless volunteers would get a one-way ticket on the Amtrak train to Albany or New York City, and a hundred-dollar reward at the far end.
The one clear fact is that Vermont cannot forever spend millions of dollars a month supporting a homeless population, that doesn’t care to do anything in return.
The author, a Kirby resident, is founder and vice-president of the Ethan Allen Institute. To read all EAI news and commentary, go to www.ethanallen.org.