Community Voices: Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition Creates Voices of Home!
Voices of Home is an on-line story sharing project of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition which aims to:
- Empower those living in affordable housing to be leaders, through listening to and sharing resident stories,
- Break down stigmas that may be held by the general public regarding those receiving or in need of housing assistance through community engagement and conversation,
- Build community by engaging residents in a project outside their immediate living situation and supporting each other through the story-telling process, and
- Bridge conversations between residents, policy makers, and community by changing the power dynamic so residents’ voices are heard and accounted for.
Voices of Home consists of interviews with residents living in housing with various public subsidies. The interviews are seen as a tool which the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition and its member organizations can use to advocate for policies benefiting affordable housing and efforts to end homelessness. The interviews are accessible on the Coalition’s blog and on radio and the stories have already reached a wide audience.
The theme is “home” and each interview provides unique and personal insights into why home is fundamental to our well-being. The stories shared through the interviews are embellished with statewide facts usually associated with policy making. VAHC intends to expand on this project through other mediums and community outreach, including a moving art show. To learn more about the project, visit their website here.
This is a clip from the interview with French Brandon, a resident of the Burlington Housing Authority’s Decker Towers in Burlington, VT. In this clip, French discusses the way that home shaped his early childhood, and uses vivid details to paint a brilliant picture of his life. When talking about home, French opines: “Home has been a very peculiar notion for me all my life. It’s sort of like something I’ve always sought after but never quite gotten to, like an ever receding will of the wisp, if you will. Or maybe a kind of perfection that one doesn’t ever achieve.”
Take this opportunity to subscribe to the Voices of Home email list in order to receive updates about the latest interviews. To learn more about Voices of Home, contact Corrine Marie Yonce: 803-660-9484.
By Mary Brooks, Senior Advisor, Center for Community Change–Housing Trust Fund Project