Temporary homeless shelter opens in Vermont community
MORRISTOWN, Vt. (AP) — A temporary shelter for the homeless in Vermont’s Lamoille County is open for business while officials await permission to open a permanent winter shelter in a Hyde Park building that was donated by the sheriff’s department.
Vermont Public Radio reports the Lamoille Community House is now operating out of a former hotel in Morristown’s Northgate Plaza.
The plan had been to open the house in Hyde Park and operate it as a winter emergency shelter. After months of work, a permit for the Hyde Park shelter has been issued, but there is still a 30-day appeal period before the shelter can open.
“It’s really cold out and . to be homeless and living outside in winter in Vermont is an emergency,” said shelter manager Jacquie Mauer.
Last year, Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux got involved with an interfaith coalition that offered shelter in religious sanctuaries around the county and he offered use of a small house owned by his department in Hyde Park that isn’t being used.
“Meanwhile, I’m heating this building,” Marcoux said. “And it just seemed to make a lot of sense to maybe have one location that these people could stay.”
Marcoux’s department fronted the money to renovate the house. The group formed a committee, signed a contract with a shelter organization to act as a fiscal sponsor, applied for grants, hired staff and coordinated with local social service agencies.
Brian Palmer, a formerly homeless man, has been trying to find people living in the woods around Morristown and Hyde Park to let them know about the shelter. He says some people are reluctant to accept help.
“I know where there’s about 15 to 20 people that are out, still outside,” he said.
“And there’s so much help that people will give ’em,” if they’re willing to accept it, he said, noting some people without a place to sleep would prefer to remain “inconspicuous.”
Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net