Frantically packing all of your belongings into boxes. Making quick decisions about what to leave behind. Moving for the third time in a year. Saying goodbye to friends you just made. Never truly feeling at home. Struggling to stay stable.
As a child, my family’s housing was unstable for years. Our family moved frequently and had to be extremely resourceful to get by. My mom, my three siblings, and I even lived in a hotel for a few months. The instability felt normal, and it took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t okay, it wasn’t normal. That is why I’m so passionate about this work:
I don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t belong to their community just because they don’t have a permanent, stable place to live.
Every person I met through my work in homelessness services has expressed a sense of disconnection to their community that is sadly familiar to me. Our systems are inadequate—they help some people and leave others behind. We need to do better.
Take Christine, for example. Christine is a 55 year old woman. She and her husband have several disabilities, live off of social security insurance, and have been utilizing the State of Vermont General Assistance program, which keeps them sheltered in a hotel room, since last April. Christine is a ray of sunshine. She always has a huge smile on her face.
Twice in her life, Christine has endured the harsh Vermont winters living in a tent. Here is a woman who, at 55 years old, has had three heart attacks and three strokes, back problems, asthma, and PTSD–and she has camped through not one, but two winters. There’s something especially shocking about an older Vermonter in poor health camping that really hits you. Christine often tells me: “It’s okay, I’m strong. I stay positive. I just gotta.” But Christine shouldn’t have to be so strong. She shouldn’t need to put that big smile on her face when things aren’t okay.
Through her connection with LCH, Christine now has a housing case manager, a cell phone, support, and–most important–hope. She knows that we are here with her. These days, Christine has more to smile about as her search for permanent, stable housing begins to take shape. We need to do better for people like Christine.
Christine is one of 261 people we have served since January of 2021. 58 of those people are children. These numbers tell us that we need to be doing our work every day of the year, not just in the winter months. With your help, we can do better.
Give Now to Our 365 Campaign!
People need safe shelter 365 days a year. Currently, LCH operates as a seasonal shelter, open from November to April. But, a person’s need for a bed, a shower, and a warm meal does not change with the seasons. LCH wants to build a year-round shelter in Lamoille County to provide support to people whenever they need it, 365 days a year.
Our goal is to raise $365,000 over the next two years. Property development grants will come from state agencies that require LCH to show sustainable operational support, which is why it is so important for us to raise these funds. Our vision for our new facility includes:
- Increased bed capacity from 12 beds to at least 20.
- Transportation services to help guests be successful outside of shelter.
- A garden space and farm stand for workforce training opportunities.
- A community center where guests can do laundry, use computers, and schedule meetings with support organizations.
LCH is working to identify a suitable site for our year-round facility. We have a big vision, but we are flexible and adaptable.
With only 60 percent of our funding coming from state grants, we look to you, our neighbors and community members, to help us meet the needs of this vulnerable population for our future expanded capacity. Our organization and the people we serve depend on the generosity of our donors. Consider a donation today to help us reach our goal of providing shelter to those experiencing homelessness 365 days a year.
Thank you for your support, it means so much to us. For more information about our services, impact, and operations, visit our website at www.lamoilleshelter.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click below to download a PDF version on this year’s appeal letter.