Here is what I sent to the editors of
"Bennington Banner" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Brattleboro Reformer" <email@example.com>, "Free Press Burlington" <letters@BFP.burlingtonfreepress.com>, "The Commons" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Deerfield Valley News" <DawnN@vermontmedia.com>, "NEW YORK TIMES" <email@example.com>, "Rutland Herald" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Keene Sentinel" <email@example.com>, "Barre Times-Argus" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Feel free to drop them a line yourself if you're inspired to do so.
On August 27th, I and 25 of my neighbors were evacuated from our homes because of Irene's imminent flood worries. Brattleboro was hit surprisingly hard and in some unexpected ways. I live in Melrose Terrace, a subsidized housing development for the elderly and disabled. I had waited 2 years for an apartment there and had moved out of the Brooks House 2 weeks before it burned down. Melrose Terrace is my home. I can wheel outside, I have a ramp, I have an adapted bathroom where I'm safer from injury. It's safe, clean and well-maintained. It's a model of what public housing should be.
It is now 2 months later and we're still homeless. We had to move all of our belongings out and find places to stay while repairs were done. Repairs were done, when the Town of Brattleboro told the Housing Authority to do so. My apartment looks new again. The buildings were declared structurally sound, though some sustained a lot of flooding. Each building had its level of damage ranging from a thin layer of muck on some of the floors to several feet of muck washing through the apartment. They are solid brick buildings on deep cement slabs. Nothing moved. There was exterior damage but that's all been repaired.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the line nobody seems to have checked what the correct procedure was with FEMA and National Flood Insurance and things were done bassackwards. This is causing us all to remain homeless while the bureaucratic bickering goes on.
The reasonable solution is apparent to everyone, it seems, except our Town, who continue to throw monkey wrenches instead of doing it the way it should be done, by FEMA calculations.
This is insanity. I am temporarily in the woods of Maine. My belongings are scattered to 5 places. Winter and the holidays are coming. Stop with the nonsense and let us go home.