Church St. Vendor Wants to Secure Lockers for Homeless Population

BURLINGTON, VT - Paul Buschner is going on 15 years of business on the Marketplace.


The man behind the A-Maize-ing Kettle Korn says he has the “best job in the world" but the view from his stand isn't always picture perfect.


"Significant number of homeless people burdened with all of their stuff constantly and don't have a secure place to drop it off," says Buschner.


Buschner is determined to change that. He’s on a mission to provide secure lockers for the area's homeless population.


"Sleeping bag and some of those things that are important to you, especially in the cold months so being able to know those things could be left behind during the daytime," says Buschner.


For some, Bank and College Street have become a permanent home and the idea of secure and safe storage would be ideal.


"I'm trying to survive,” says Rocky Mackenzie, who has been homeless in the greater Burlington for about a year. “The locker is good idea to save, to put my things down there."


The Burlington International Airport has already stepped up to help get Buschner's project off the ground.


"When Paul reached out it was a no-brainer for me," says Aviation Director, Gene Richards.


Richards has offered to donate about 40 lockers that are in the FAA building, but aren't used.


"Everything here we try to reuse and recycle, and recycle.”


You might be asking, where would they be located? The Salvation Army on Main Street has offered to house them on it's property, but Buschner says he's also open to putting the lockers on a trailer.


"If the needs of the homeless population shifted geographically, it would be easy to pick up that trailer and move it to a new spot or try out a new location," says Buschner.
 

Even with the community's support, he says he still needs to secure at least $5-10,000 worth of equipment for locks, lights and possibly a security camera.


But he says the investment will all be worth it.


“Empower them to be unencumbered during the daytime, in particular so they could go to a doctor's appointment."

 

Buschner says he has a meeting in the next few weeks with community partners to address homelessness and present his project.


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