[Hpn] Homeless man seeks assistance;Times Argus;9/7/01; + more

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Fri, 07 Sep 2001 19:57:08 -0400

Below is a forward of an article which may be of interest. Following that 
forward is the Web address and an excerpt for another related article.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont


-------Forwarded article-------

Friday, September 7, 2001
Times Argus <http://timesargus.nybor.com>
Local News section
Homeless man seeks assistance

By David W. Smith


MONTPELIER – Jim Bigelow and his family are homeless, and he’s running out 
of ideas to remedy the situation.

“It’s getting cold at night and I don’t want to be out in the street,” said 
Bigelow, who has been struggling to find a foothold in the Barre-Montpelier 
area for three months. “The kids have been through a lot. We haven’t had a 
normal life since the trailer burned down.”

Wednesday afternoon Bigelow parked his Ford Escort just off State Street by 
the Statehouse, and began covering the car with handwritten signs pleading 
for people to better address the homeless situation in Vermont.

Inside the polka-dot-covered “Dalmatian car,” two dogs slumbered in the back 
seat. One dog, he said, would be given away that night. He hopes to get a 
doctor’s note to inform people he needs the other dog, which he raised from 
a puppy, as therapy for his disability.

Stemming from a 1988 car accident, Bigelow said he’s been unable to work due 
to a disability that causes him memory loss, migraine headaches, 
disorientation and severe depression. One of his two sons also suffers from 
a disability that inhibits his ability to learn.

His wife, sons ages 5 and 6, and 2-year-old daughter were at the Econo Lodge 
on Wednesday, where they stayed for two days since, he claims, they were 
sent away from a local shelter. He believes it was because his children were 
unable to stay quiet at night.

The family’s income, from Social Security and other social services, totals 
$1,211 each month, and it’s already gone, Bigelow said, adding that he now 
is at a loss as to where they can stay.

He said he’s spent the past three months shuffling between social service 
organizations seeking help finding an apartment, temporary shelter and the 
basic necessities of life.

He said he received money and food from churches, temporary shelter and 
counseling. What he really needs, however, is enough money to pay the 
deposit and first month’s rent for an apartment, he said.

His family has lived out of the car, he said, and he’s desperately worried 
the children will be taken away.

“Nobody will help you with a deposit,” said Bigelow. “That’s what we need.

“Nobody’s telling you where you can get (help). It’s like a secret.”

Programs designed to find a place to live for homeless people are unable to 
help because he can’t show a good credit history, Bigelow said.

His story began about a year-and-a-half ago in the Cooperstown, N.Y. area, 
when his trailer home was destroyed by a fire.

The family moved to Vermont because his wife had relatives in the area, and 
they spent the first 10 months living in a Marshfield campground in an old 
camper someone had given them.

They then moved into an Elm Street apartment in Montpelier, but had to leave 
because the rent was too high.

“We need at least three bedrooms, but if you look in the paper, they’re $950 
to $1,500,” said Bigelow. “We can’t afford it.”

They arranged a situation where they could live in an unfinished Barre 
Street apartment in exchange for fixing it up, and began to pay off some of 
their debts, Bigelow said. But the apartment, which had no running water, 
was declared unfit for living, and his family was put out on the street a 
few days ago.

Roxy Jason, associate director of Another Way in Montpelier – an 
organization that helps people with mental and emotional disabilities – said 
police came to the Barre Street apartment because of a complaint about a dog 
barking, which led to it being declared unfit.

She said she has spent a lot of time trying to get help for the Bigelows, 
but has been unsuccessful because the family either earns too much money, 
has bad credit or doesn’t qualify for available sources of aid.

Jason recounted Bigelow’s story, but said she couldn’t really say if every 
detail were true.

She does know the Bigelows came to Vermont because of a fire, and that 
they’re facing a tough struggle gathering enough money to find a permanent 
place to live.

“I would like to see someone say, ‘OK, we’re going to help this family 
regardless of their problems,’” Jason said.

Contact David W. Smith at david.smith@timesargus.com

Another Way works mostly with single individuals, but homeless families, she 
said, are an increasing problem because housing has become so scarce and 
expensive. People who rely on social services for the majority of income 
simply can’t afford to pay rent and keep up with other expenses.

Bigelow said his first priority is to get a place to stay so his family 
doesn’t have to live out of the car.

“I’m not just worried about us,” said Bigelow. “A lot of people don’t think 
families can be homeless.”

Contact David W. Smith at david.smith@timesargus.com.

---End of forwarded article---

In addition, also in today's paper regarding a proposed family shelter in 
Barre City [Vermont]:

Friday, September 7, 2001
Times Argus <http://timesargus.nybor.com>
Front page
Board rejects homeless shelter again


BARRE – Ordered by a judge to reconsider their earlier denial of a shelter 
planned for North Seminary Street members of the city's development review 
board denied it again.

To read the full story, go to:

Board rejects homeless shelter again:



**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**


-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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