This commentary is by Paul Dragon, executive director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.
News, Press & Perspectives
CVOEO opposes the forced removal of encampments where individuals and families experiencing homelessness live.
This commentary by Paul Dragon was published in VT Digger on 10/24/21. The Housing Safety Bill (S.79) would have made much-needed changes in how health and safety is enforced in rental housing by shifting health inspections from mostly volunteer, town-based town health officers to the State Division of Fire Safety.
The work connecting poverty relief to environmental justice is undeveloped and nearly nonexistent. We need a new paradigm in our traditional anti-poverty and social service thinking to include a focus on the environment, and environmental organizations need to include people living in poverty as they develop their thinking and practice.
These past months of the pandemic have driven home the point that we can and need to do much better as a society for people who are homeless and living in deep poverty. We realize that the people who work in shelters and emergency housing facilities play a vital role in medical prevention, medical care and public health, but this is something that the medical community and most of society by and large neglect to acknowledge.