The Challenge of Finding a Home for the Homeless

Published 05/22 2014 06:36PM

Updated 05/22 2014 06:43PM

This Shelburne campground is the third stop this week for a homeless group.
This Shelburne campground is the third stop this week for a homeless group.

SHELBURNE, Vt. – A campground on Shelburne Road is the latest stop for a homeless group that has been on the move a lot this week.

The men and women were forced from their long term location on Pine Street, while police to investigate the death 40 year-old Forrest Bryant.

Burlington Parks and Rec Department allowed them to stay at North Beach campground until Thursday morning when the campground was booked full.

Now they're renting space at a campground in Shelburne but the owner there says that arrangement ends May 29th.

“It is a problem that we could do better on than we do today," Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said.

Weinberger says homelessness is a challenging issue that requires his attention but allowing illegal encampments can't be the solution.

“I don't think they really have a place in the city and I think we need to take them down when they occur,” Weinberger said.

But they usually just pop up in other areas, either in Burlington or surrounding communities. The group in Shelburne tells me that's what their plan is.

COTS executive director Rita Markley says even when they offer a place for homeless to stay it's not always accepted.

“There's a certain group that's just really resistant because of the nature of their substance abuse or mental health issue,” Markley said.

“You can't force them to avail themselves of that service.”

 That leaves them with one option - to stay outside.

While police and officials in surrounding communities do want to help these people they say there are certain safety risks to letting them camp on property they're not supposed to be on.

Often encampments come with drinking and drug problems and sometimes property crime occurs.

The HowardCenter Street Outreach team says some of the homeless who were at the North Beach campground did accept economic help for housing situations.

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