First of all, I think it is important to support the efforts of the Coalition for the Homeless to regain community/town funding for the coming year. I encourage you to vote for this request on the town ballot. Secondly, I would like to clarify the closing remarks in that article. It says, "It also saved money by closing a shelter in North Bennington which was inconvenient for people who stayed there, and had initially shut down because of a bed bug problem."

I take exception to both those notions. The Transitional Shelter, called "Six Bank Street" was housed in the parsonage of the North Bennington Congregational Church, of which I am the pastor, and so I know firsthand that Six Bank Street was not "inconvenient" to those who stayed there, as it housed, cared for, and trained hundreds families over a period of 14 years to transition back into the community. Actually, there is nothing convenient about any aspects of homelessness.

The effort to help so many vulnerable families over the years at Six Bank Street worked very well and was truly a life-saving mission.

Finally, the North Bennington shelter did not "shut down because of a bed bug problem." The decision to "shut down" Six Bank Street was totally made by the Board of the Coalition for the Homeless long before any bed bugs scampered onto the scene.

Let’s get this story straight!

REV. PENNY RICH SMITH

Pastor of North Bennington
Congregational Church
Looking for answers

I want people to know how much times have changed and how people really don’t care about anything or anyone but themselves in this world today.

My mother lives with me. She is 77, a severe diabetic, has Parkinson’s, and is on oxygen at times of rest. I myself am totally disabled. I have a cage of screws in my lower back, a spinal cord stimulator, my heart is so bad they told me I can die anytime, and I wear a nitro patch at all times. I also am on oxygen.

I save money during the summer to fill my fuel tank in September or October each year to take us through the winter. This winter I fell short because of the so-called Polar Vortex. I went to BROC for just some fuel assistance to help make it through the rest of the winter. BROC told me I had to go to economic services and file some paperwork with them. For two days, I ran around and I gave them all the paperwork they asked for. I called yesterday and asked about the help for fuel. They told me the money I have that comes in is a little over the required amount. Two disabled seniors on Social Security. I do get paid a little for having my mom live with me instead of putting her in a nursing home; we’re told by the state of Vermont and by BROC that we should have to freeze to death, that no one would help us.

Would someone tell me, please, what people in our situations are supposed to do? It would be greatly appreciated, seeing as we have more cold weather coming our way.

DARLENE O’SHEA

Bennington