Thursday December 20, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Interfaith Clergy Association is joining with organizations serving the homeless in Windham County to mark the National Day of the Homeless Person. This candlelight vigil will be held, along with hundreds of other around the nation, on Friday, Dec. 21, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

In Brattleboro, vigil will begin at Pliny Park at the corner of Main and High streets at 4 p.m. and end next door in the shelter for the homeless in the First Baptist Church.

The goal is to commemorate the lives of the mothers or fathers, sons or daughters who died on the streets or in the emergency shelters from illness or conditions directly related to their homelessness. Each year people die on the streets of Vermont for lack of shelter.

A recent report of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency finds homeless families, or families at risk of becoming homeless with children, increased by 52 percent in one year. Homeless with children make up for 35 percent of the homeless. The length of time people are homeless has increased over the past five years. All those statistics also highlight the relationship of employment and health issues to people’s housing.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in this brief program which will include representatives of the faith communities along with Lucie Fortier, director of the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center, Tom Appel of the Home At Last program for homeless veterans and a Libby Bennett from the Morningside Shelter for the Homeless.

Andy Davis will lead a volunteer choir of voices who are invited to practice at 3:30 p.m. at the Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St.

Candles will be provided to everyone for the walk in the darkness to the shelter, mirroring both the plight of the homeless and the welcome light of the shelter provided.

Everyone is encouraged to bring blankets, sleeping bags and pillows for the shelter.

For more information call Lise Sparrow at 802-257-2776 or e-mail gccucc@sover.net.