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How one Burlington warming shelter is keeping people safe from omicron — and sub-zero temperatures

Angela Evancie
/
VPR/File
Temperatures this winter have dipped below zero, making life even more dangerous for thousands of Vermonters experiencing homelessness. And more arctic temperatures are on the way.

The past week’s temperatures have dipped below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, making life even more dangerous for thousands of Vermonters experiencing homelessness. And more arctic temperatures are on the way: the National Weather Service in Burlington warns that dangerously cold wind chills are expected tonight through Saturday.

Vermont Edition co-host Connor Cyrus spoke with Paul Dragon, executive director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, to discuss the organization's warming shelter in Burlington.

With more arctic temperatures on the way this weekend, and the contagious omicron variant circulating widely, Dragon said warming shelters are taking extra precautions to keep people safe.

"We try to make sure people have masks on at all times, unless they are eating," he said.

"We do have plastic screens up in certain parts of the community resource center. So we are trying to balance health and safety while making sure people can get out of the elements."

The organization says it will have updated numbers on people experiencing homelessness later this month when it conducts its annual point in time count.

Listen to the full interview to hear more about CVOEO and its warming shelter.

Broadcast live on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 at noon.

Connor Cyrus was co-host and senior producer of Vermont Edition from 2021-2023.
Tedra worked on Vermont Edition as a producer and editor from 2022 to 2024.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.