When last we met, I castigated Gov. Phil Scott for his needlessly cruel posture on the emergency housing program, which he insists on shutting down next Friday when it won’t save the state a damn dime.
This time I’d like to widen the frame, and point out that there ain’t nobody making a public stink about this craven retreat from basic humanity. Well, that’s not entirely true; some people, including tireless advocate and two-time statewide candidate Brenda Siegel, have been banging the drum. Otherwise…
Media? An occasional story on VTDigger, and that’s about it. No questions on the subject at Scott’s Tuesday presser.
Legislative leadership? I haven’t heard a peep*. Maybe that’s because they agreed to the original plan to kill the program last spring, so they feel an uneasy sense of complicity. Or maybe it’s because the unhoused aren’t a core constituency.
Update: Two legislative commitees are holding hearings on the program next week. House General Etc. is on Monday morning at 9:00, Statehouse Room 11 or streamed online. The Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules will meet next Thursday at 10:00 in Statehouse Room 24 and streamed online. Hopefully these hearings will prompt some kind of action, and produce some media attention to the issue.
Vermont Democratic Party? Not as far as I can tell. Nothing on its website. The VDP has issued a measly three press releases (according to my inbox) in the last month-plus, and emergency housing was not mentioned at all.
Vermont Progressive Party? You’d think so, but (again, as far as I can tell and I’m open to correction*) no. No press releases, no public statements.
*Correction: I’ve learned that the Progressive Party issued a press release in favor of continuing the emergency housing program in July, when it was first scheduled to end. Since then, Prog lawmakers have continued to speak out in support of the program.
Why the silence? Because we treat the unhoused as if they’re a separate and inferior species, living among us but not really of us. They are The Ignorables.Continue reading