Project Success!

Hello friends – board president Laura Hale here! Just wanted to share a story of how good things can still happen these days even when everything feels really difficult. A few months ago, a friend got in touch because a family she knew with a member who uses a wheelchair was living in a very small, very inaccessible apartment in our neighborhood and was dealing with all the trauma that comes with unstable and inadequate housing. Finding housing in Burlington is hard enough with a 1% vacancy rate, and finding wheelchair accessible housing that is vacant is nearly impossible with just 3% of all housing stock accessible (whenever possible, please advocate for affordable AND accessible housing!). But we were undeterred. With a whole lot of networking and private fundraising, we were able to find a rental home in Burlington with an owner who would let us install a stair glide and wheelchair ramp. The stair glide and ramp were just installed yesterday, the family moved in, and is now safe and stable for the first time in a long time. My friend who reached out to me and I are both volunteers, so we did nearly a full time job’s worth of work for three months unpaid to make this happen, along with a seriously awesome Medicaid case manager, and the truly wonderful family. It was a combination of hard work and pure luck that got us here. It gives me hope that a small group of people can come together and make some magic happen.

I’m going to get up on my soapbox for a second but please bear with me. The reasons I mentioned that we’re volunteers and that the fundraising was private were two fold. First, it haunts me to think of all the people who don’t get connected by essentially chance to people who have the time to make that effort and who have the connections to get it done. We as a society need to do a much, much better job with our social safety nets. People fall through cavernous cracks every day. Second, raising funds privately without very public gofundmes means no one has to share their story if they don’t want to just to survive. People with means are able to get help all the time without ever needing to share their trauma publicly. Privacy is something everyone should be afforded – not just those with financial security.

If you need hope, know these small wins happen all the time. I don’t promote this work that happens outside our grant rounds at the ONE Good Deed Fund often because I truly believe that supporting people in our community is something that is done without strings attached and without publicity that pushes them into the limelight. It probably makes me a terrible marketer for this fund that I started seven years ago and put my whole heart into, but I’d rather stay under the radar and do good work that respects the privacy of those we work with than raise our profile and grow. It’s an honest privilege for me to be able to put a some good out into the world without requiring anything in return. I prefer to work side by side in solidarity and I’m grateful I have the chance. I just want you all to know that even when it looks like everything around is fall apart, there is so much you don’t see that shows just how amazing we humans can be. Also check out the sweet wheelchair ramp! Big thanks to Chad at Access Mobility in Williston for being frickin’ awesome to work with ❤

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