MONTPELIER – Turnout in previous years has reportedly been much higher for the annual Homelessness Awareness Day and Memorial Vigil held each January at the State House in Montpelier. Service providers, housing experts, and concerned citizens typically gather outside to join the minds and voices involved in working to end homelessness, but this year the frigid temperatures may have kept some people away.
“I was planning to attend,” said social worker and Housing First advocate Wyatt Prillinge, “but the cold weather this week has really been messing with my joints, so I thought it would be more effective for me to stay in the office and continue my efforts from there where it is dry and warm. Honestly, it’s really hard to focus and get anything done when you are physically uncomfortable. I do plan to attend next year. Maybe they could offer heated tents?”
Several others expressed similar concerns about holding the event, wondering if it should have been delayed until the weather was more cooperative.
“I feel so bad for some of those housing people who had to be there,” said one woman who declined to give her name. “I know some of them don’t have a choice. Their bosses basically require them to be outside all day, which really should be illegal. Think about it! They’re out there for hours! It’s not safe. Nobody should be forced to be out in these temperatures. I would have called in sick and stayed home in bed all day watching Netflix if it were me.”
The homeless community had no response to these concerns, saying only that they had no strong opinion as to what date or time the event was held.
Image Credits: Glenn Russell/VTDigger.