Walk for the Homeless

nekys walk thumbnailST. JOHNSBURY – Homelessness in Vermont has been an ongoing problem, and for the twelfth year in a row, the Northeast Kingdom Youth Services did their part to help. Members of the community took to the streets on Saturday in St. Johnsbury to raise awareness and money for homeless youth.

“This walk is really important for the awareness. If nobody knows there’s homeless people around, people won't wake up and do something about it,” says NEKYS walk participant Scott Lowrey.

 With temperatures in the upper thirties and snow expected, the conditions just helped the people, like Lyndon Institute cheerleader Rene Bly, realize how serious of an issue homelessness is in the area. “Just knowing that there’s people out there that don’t have a home is heartbreaking,” says Bly.

NEKYS Public Relations representative Jennifer Fahlbeck says the cold will only get worse, and that the weather can be life threatening for the homeless. “Living homeless is very difficult in Vermont all year,” states Fahlbeck. “In the winter, it becomes a life and death situation.”

Hundreds of people came out to support the cause, and for some, it hits close to home.

“I went to Florida a few years ago, and I didn’t have a place to stay,” says Lowrey. “All I could do was put my stuff that I had taken from here in a storage area. So I went back to look the next day, and the only place I could stay was in a shelter because I had hardly any money.”

The Lyndon Institute cheerleading squad raised eight hundred dollars for the Northeast Kingdom Youth Services organization at the event. “If it was me and my situation, I’d want people out here for me,” shares cheerleader Bryanna Williams.

However, there is still more work to be done. “We know of 26 people in the last six months that have been homeless or living in situations that are very unsafe and dangerous,” says Fahlbeck. “We have successfully gotten 21 of them into safe housing.”