Homeless shelter in Vergennes uses slower time for key projects

VERGENNES — Residents of the John Graham Emergency Homeless Shelter’s main building this week are staying in other Vergennes properties owned by the nonprofit agency — or in the case of at least one family, camping at Button Bay State Park — while heating improvements are made and other maintenance is performed at the Graham Shelter’s 69 Monkton Road home.
Graham Shelter director Elizabeth Ready said the nonprofit that provides housing to the county’s homeless will have no trouble meeting the needs of its Monkton Road residents this week.
“Everybody will have housing,” Ready said. “Everybody will be taken care of.”
The Graham Shelter owns four buildings in all, and it is no accident that its officials chose midsummer to have needed work done to its primary property — demand is less during the warmest months, and Ready said now is the ideal time to take care of the shelter’s heavily used buildings.
“If you don’t do the maintenance in the summer, you don’t do it,” she said.
The key parts of the work this summer are running heating ducts to and installing thermostats in three Monkton Road bedrooms. Ready said the two-zone heating that was installed during last summer’s full renovation of the building is technically adequate to heat the structure, but did not take into account the fact that residents understandably leave the bedroom doors closed to maintain privacy.
Workers will also refinish downstairs floors, refurbish and paint the handicap ramp and the porches, and clean rugs, furniture and appliances, Ready said — all work best accomplished in an empty building.
The shelter’s offices will remain open during what Ready said is both an annual occurrence and part of the shelter’s long-term maintenance plan.
“It’s something we’ve done every year,” she said. 

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