Home Columns Heard on the Street, 1.12.22

Heard on the Street, 1.12.22

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Taking on Winter Homelessness in Montpelier

City officials, leaders in the nonprofit human services field, volunteers, and concerned citizens have been discussing and taking action on winter homelessness issues. A homelessness task force meets regularly in a hybrid format based out of city hall. They deliberate, hold public hearings and present ideas and findings to the city council.

As a result of these discussions, an agreement was signed on Dec. 15 to extend hours at the Green Mountain Transit Center until 9 p.m. to allow those in need to access the lobby and restrooms. Two groups supporting unhoused people are the Montpelier-based Another Way and the Barre-based Good Samaritan Haven. They have agreed to staff the transit center to connect people to social services. In addition, Another Way has coordinated with area churches and other nonprofits to provide food and coffee there. The center has sheltered about 10 to 12 people per day.

Also, the Good Samaritan Haven organization is working with the city council to contract more motel rooms. There are 188 adults and 59 children currently in the hotel/motel programs in Washington County, according to minutes from the Jan. 5 Homelessness Task Force meeting. The overflow shelter at Christ Church in Montpelier has been providing overnight warming shelter space since Nov. 2020.

Statehouse Lawn Ice Rink Open

The skating rink on the Statehouse lawn has opened for 2022. As of Jan. 6, the ice was frozen and the lights were set up. Responsible for this community feature are staff members from Recreation, Parks, Fire Department, Public Works, and Green Mount Cemetery, who all pitched in to help Recreation Department director Arne McMullen pull off installing the rink.

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Planning Commission to Begin Deliberating Zoning Amendments

The Montpelier Planning Commission began deliberations on the draft zoning amendments Jan. 10. The commission has already held two public hearings and heard from more than 30 residents on the proposals. The commission is now going through the comments and will either remove or approve suggested aspects of the amendments. No further testimony will be considered, but the deliberations are public and can be viewed online. If you have any questions please email Mike Miller at mmiller@montpelier-vt.org.