Tag Archives: Bridges to Housing

Triumph of the Shill

In a way, you’ve got to feel a little bit sorry for the Scott administration functionary who’s obliged to carry water for some sad bit of policy or other. They’re adequately compensated for putting their soul in storage, but they do run the risk of ascending to the gates of Heaven only to confront an angry-looking St. Peter demanding an explanation for their craven shillery. Today’s case in point: Shayla Livingston, policy director for the Agency of Human Services.

Per VTDigger’s indispensable “Final Reading,” Livingston was defending the administration’s desire to end the emergency housing program as quickly as possible, sending thousands of the unhoused off into the night with no plan. And she trotted out a brand-new, never-heard-before rationalization.

It’s not that the money is running out. It’s not that we can’t afford to extend the program into the warmer months, which until now had been the administration’s sotto voce position. No, they’re doing it out of a twisted sense of fairness.

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How Serious Are the Democrats About Our Homelessness Crisis?

The current debate about the emergency shelter program has very narrow parameters. The Senate Appropriations Committee is pondering the House’s addition of $21 million to the Budget Adjustment Act, that would extend the motel program from March 31 to June 30. The Scott administration, staring down the barrel of a losing battle which would (rightly) paint Governor Nice Guy as a heartless Scrooge, has proposed $11 million to shelter some people during those three months.

$21 million versus $11 million. That’s the debate.

Well, it shouldn’t be.

This week, to absolutely no notice from Our Political Press, a coalition of housing advocacy groups presented a plan that would actually provide a bridge for the unhoused instead of a cliff. It is, in fact, called “Bridges to Housing.” The plan isn’t meant as gospel; the groups decided to lay out one idea of what a solid plan would look like, just to show that it can be done.

Because, you know, the current debate still involves a cliff. It’s a matter of when we let recipients fall off the edge — March 31, June 30, or a mish-mosh in between.

This plan ought to spark some serious discussion, not to mention soul-searching, in the corridors of power. Will it? The fact that it got zero press attention would suggest that it will not.

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