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Welcome to iBrattleboro!

Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Homelessness Marathon News, Ground Reports, Observations & Comments Open Thread

Homelessness Marathon bannerAm initiating this Homelessness Marathon news, ground reports, observations and comments open thread in the hope that there will be those who either had been present or viewed the video coverage or otherwise listened into the audio during the broadcast and will share their observations and opinions with the rest of us.

For my part, due to various reasons (including technical difficulties and the like experienced on my end), I only managed to be able to listen in to certain portions of the broadcast and it appears news coverage might be sparse or otherwise somewhat late in coming; not to mention about how personal accounts can sometimes be more enlightening and interesting as well.

Thus, if you have something you can share about the broadcast, please do so within the comment threads of this particular post. In addition, if and when any news coverage becomes available, one can provide the links to such within comment posts as well.

Thank you in advance.

Morgan W. Brown



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The first few hours

I listened for the first few hours.

They were broadcasting from Main Street in front of First Baptist Church. The first hour featured people at the overflow shelter, the second hour was focused on the walk-in center.

I heard a former derivatives/currency trader talk about how she came to be homeless. There were others who had slipped into homelessness, too. Some had big medical expenses, others had changing family situations (a divorce or death).

Almost everyone wanted a job and wanted to work and pay for their lives, but all said it was harder than ever. There are few jobs, there are roadblocks to getting them, and if you do get one, it doesn't pay enough.

Almost all were shocked at the astronomical rents being charged in Brattleboro. A "cheap" place in town can be $900 a month. It's out of reach, and puts people on the streets.

Challenge to landlords: You could end a great deal of homelessness if rents went down a few hundred dollars.

Most everyone praised Brattleboro for being generous and caring, given the circumstances.

Guests spoke about finding food and places to sleep, about their families, and how they never expected to be homeless. They talked about how they make it through each day, and how they deal with sleeping on a hard floor at the church each night.

The host, as always, was good at encouraging people to talk. They had a few problems taking calls early on, but things were worked out and calls started coming in from around the country.


Unseen Brattleboro

There was one portion during which some of the callers were from the local shelter for women who have been victims of domestic violence. One woman who spoke up was in the shelter with her daughter who also spoke. It drove home the point that families are affected, not just one person.

There was discussion of people who take shelter in their cars - I used to live next door to someone living in their car parked in a 'friendly' space. It should be shocking how common this has become. There's a lot of "should be" anymore.

Help "should be" available, but the broadcast made clear that it often isn't. Discussing shelters elsewhere, it was noted that many have rules that prevent anyone with alcohol on their breath admission for the night, and other similar regulations.

Listening to the broadcast, I have to say that I became quite proud of Brattleboro. I did not fully realize how unusual it is these days for a town to tackle issues of homelessness, low income, and poverty. I have heard far too much of the "we have too much subsidized housing" argument and similar comments around town the last few years. There was even a caller who expressed the thought that providing help for the homeless encouraged them to stay that way, an idea easily refuted by the participants for those who listened. A couple of people did note that they had come here because they heard they might find help here. A town up in the Kingdom recommended our town to one person, another came up from Mass. They found that help wasn't as readily available as rumored, but they did find help. Just about everyone gave praise to caseworkers and volunteers whose efforts helped or are helping them get their lives back together. That is a Brattleboro that doesn't get seen very much, and it is the Brattleboro I love.


Archived audio ...

for all six hours of the 2014 broadcast is now available on Homelessness Marathon Website (via links provided on main page), here. Once on the archived audio page for a given hour, there should be an audio player box within the upper right hand side of the page. Click onto the play button in order to listen to the audio.


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