[Hpn] Editorial: 'Money for housing'; &, "It's My Turn" op-ed: 'Homelessness is ... "

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Sun, 14 Jul 2002 09:40:19 -0400

-------Forwarded Editorial & "It's My Turn"-------

Sunday, July 14, 2002
Burlington Free Press <http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com>
[Burlington, Vermont]
Editorial/Opinion section
Burlington Free Press Editorial
Money for housing

Vermont and Burlington could soon double the amount of money they spend on 
affordable housing if legislation proposed by Rep. Bernie Sanders is passed.

The bill would authorize the federal government to give matching funds to 
state and local governments that have affordable housing trust funds.

Housing advocates, municipalities and states across the country have been 
waiting years for this kind of federal help.

Vermont and Burlington are among 280 municipalities and states that have 
trust funds. They stand to gain millions of dollars for housing if the 
measure introduced by Sanders, I-Vt., becomes law.

"There has been so little for so many years of major housing initiatives on 
the federal level," said Michael Monte, director of Burlington's Community 
and Economic Development Office. "Everybody kept saying: It won't happen."

Sanders' National Affordable Housing Trust legislation won approval last 
week from the House Financial Services Committee, and is part of a larger 
housing bill expected to pass the House before the August congressional 

If the federal government matches Vermont's trust fund, it could grow to 
nearly $12 million a year to build, rehabilitate and preserve affordable 
housing. About 38 percent of Vermonters spend more than 30 percent of their 
income on rent, according to the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.

In Burlington, where the City Council has made affordable housing a 
priority, the housing trust fund of about $175,000 would double to $350,000. 
The city could use the federal money for its new home ownership program, 
without resorting to increasing property taxes, Monte said.

Burlington is the only community in Chittenden County with a housing trust. 
The prospect of federal rewards might encourage other communities to start 
trusts and ease the county's housing crunch.

Sanders, who calls the housing shortage "one of the major crises facing 
America," said his legislation was a community effort, backed by 2,800 
grassroots groups from all walks of life, including businesses worried about 
their workers' inability to find housing.

The bill deserves strong support. In the richest country on earth, almost 28 
million Americans pay more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing and 
800,000 people are homeless.

There are times when government has to step in. Helping people achieve the 
basic right of shelter is one of those times.

---End of forwarded editorial---


Sunday, July 14, 2002
Burlington Free Press <http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com>
[Burlington, Vermont]
Editorial/Opinion section
"It's My Turn"/Op-Ed segment
Homelessness is having no place to hang your hat

By Morgan W. Brown

If "home is where one hangs one's hat," where does a person who is living 
homeless hang their hat?

When a person hangs their hat someplace temporarily, are they no longer 
considered truly homeless even if, in fact, it is not really their home?

Being homeless myself, I know well how the smallest items of hope are always 
held onto very tightly.

Just like one's own sense of dignity, self-respect, pride -- which are 
equally cherished and held close, such hope can often prove extremely useful 
and even vital in the long journey being undertaken just in managing to 
survive as well as living independently.

These core parts of one's self can also be key to what is needed to help 
find, obtain and then move into some form of safe, decent and affordable 
housing of one's own; which is an essential part of what is needed to end 

As near as it may be to my becoming housed once again, after being homeless 
in its various forms for nearly five years this time around, one would think 
nothing could easily stand in my way.

Yet, there are many moments when it seems too daunting and so very far away 
to ever be accomplished on one's own.

There are those days, and even weeks, which do not seem to pass by without a 
severe and persistent need to find and renew hope, inner strength as well as 
faith in everything.

Almost constantly, in many different ways, I remind myself that whatever the 
circumstances or, how they are experienced and felt, there are always other 
ways of thinking about them and other methods of accomplishing something 
when it is waited for a little while longer and, what is sought is looked 
for even deeper than we may believe is possible and, the support needed to 
do so is received.

Just as crucial though, the value of the smallest or seemingly least 
important thing to provide inspiration should never be underestimated; often 
found in what we may perceive to be the most unlikely of places or persons, 
especially when it is needed the most.

These are among the things which often help me to never, ever, give up on 
anything or anybody -- and, most importantly, never on myself.

When I do find and move into a place of my own, my hat will be hung where it 
can be grabbed at ease when needed. Then whenever it is off of my head and 
in its usual resting place, I will know I am home.

Morgan W. Brown is living homeless in Montpelier.

---End of forwarded "It's My Turn" op-ed---


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

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

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