For Immediate Release:
Groundworks Hosts Virtual Camp-From-Home Advocacy and Fundraising Event: Camp for a Cause
For an interview contact:
JDavis@GroundworksVT.org | 802.257.5415 x1010
BRATTLEBORO, VT—In keeping with the need to allow for social distancing—and in order to highlight this unique time in Groundworks Collaborative’s ongoing effort to end homelessness in the Brattleboro area—the organization is returning to a virtual broadcast for the 9th annual Camp for a Cause fundraiser.
The event, which in pre-COVID times sought an annual permit to lift the Town of Brattleboro’s public camping restriction on the town Common for one night each May, will happen virtually again this year on Friday, May 21st. Organizers are encouraging participants to camp at home—on lawns, in garages, on balconies and decks, in cars, on couches, etc.—and in so doing, raise funds that Groundworks reports it needs “now more than ever.”
“While we’ve made incredible advances over the past year in our mission to end homelessness household by household, the scope of need for housing has grown intensely due to the pandemic,” explained Josh Davis, Groundworks’ Executive Director.
Groundworks closed its Drop-In Center and Seasonal Overflow Shelter in March 2020—moving all shelter guests and a few residents of Groundworks Shelter into local motels to allow for proper social distancing throughout their programs. Motels have been home to roughly 2700 Vermonters experiencing homelessness over the last year—Brattleboro motels have, at some points over the past year, hosted over 200 people. Groundworks continues to provide support to roughly 172 individuals in 160 households sheltering in Brattleboro motels.
The organization is wrapping up work on the newly constructed Groundworks Drop-In Center on South Main Street—ready to open its doors when the motel program unwinds. The proposal that is currently in front of the legislature would mean some individuals would be ineligible for motel rooms as early as June 1st, with those already in motels subject to the new eligibility rules as of July 1st. Davis served on the statewide Motel Working Group to advise the legislature on how to proceed.
“The proposal was drafted with the assumption that Governor Scott’s plan to spend $249 million of Vermont’s ARPA [the American Rescue Plan Act] funds on affordable housing units would mean we’re moving people out of motels with the understanding that housing would be available soon.” Groundworks continues to watch closely as the plan unfolds.
This year’s Camp organizers hope that as the weather warms and more people are vaccinated each day, families and individual participants will be ready to get outside—potentially in small groups—and consider the question: What has it meant for you to be SAFE AT HOME? during the pandemic. The event brings participants and the community together for a live broadcast on BCTV, Facebook, and YouTube on Friday, May 21st at 7pm. The livestream, which will include a live Q&A with staff and music from the DiTrani Brothers, will be available on Groundworks Collaborative’s website and YouTube channel immediately following the event.
“This year, more than ever, we want the community to advocate for our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” said Groundworks’ Director of Development & Communications Libby Bennett. “A tent is not a home, and we need to raise these vital funds to continue providing critical housing support services to help the people we serve find and maintain stable housing.”
To keep up with the increased need, Groundworks’ Case Management Team has grown from five to 10 Case Managers working with people on various stages of housing navigation and retention.
“We want to encourage as many people as possible to pick a camping spot of their choice and send us a photo or an update on where they’ll be sleeping in solidarity with our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” said Bennett. “It costs nothing to participate and anyone can tune in for the livestream at no cost, but we do ask campers to help by raising as much money as they’re able to support this important work.”
Bennett said online fundraising tools are available at GroundworksVT.org for all to access and all contributions to support the effort are fully tax-deductible.
Campers, and those wishing to make a contribution should visit GroundworksVT.org and click on the EVENTS tab, to register, donate, and learn more. Donations can also be mailed to: Groundworks Collaborative, PO Box 370, Brattleboro, VT 05302 (with checks payable to Groundworks Collaborative—please write “Camp” in the memo line.)
Groundworks would like to extend a warm and sincere thanks to all of the generous sponsors of this year’s virtual campout: Silver Forest of Vermont; Trust Company of Vermont; Brattleboro Food Co-Op; Abatem Exterminating Company; Savings Bank of Walpole; Health Care & Rehabilitation Services (HCRS); Farnum Insulators; and Physical Therapy Services.
Contact Julianne at JMills@GroundworksVT.org or 802.257.5415 x1002 with questions.