Vermonters living outside face barriers to access cool shelter in hot weather

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Of the 270 entries, 144 listed cooling locations are recreation sites with water access, which is not an ideal option for people who don’t have shelter — and half charge a fee for use.

“If you’re experiencing homelessness and you’re carrying around all your bags and all your gear, I wouldn’t say that (Lake Champlain) is readily accessible,” said Paul Dragon, executive director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.

While libraries, particularly the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, have been “really wonderful in hosting people,” people don’t always have transportation to get there, Dragon said. “We have to remember that not everywhere in Vermont has the centralized infrastructure, either, that Burlington has.”