On December 21, 2016, Seven Days published an article in regards to the leadership shakeup at Burlington Housing Authority which used demeaning language to refer to Decker Towers, home to more than 160 low-income Burlingtonians. Specifically, the article recalled the homes as “looming, drab Decker Towers on St. Paul Street.” Residents on the Decker Towers Tenants Organization Steering Committee felt a need to respond to this characterization of their imperfect yet thriving home and community, and organized a letter writing effort to reshape the narrative surrounding Vermont’s largest building.
With an effort aided by VAHC Resident Organizer Corrine Yonce, residents composed a letter to the editor at Seven Days. In it, residents said it was comments like these that perpetuate a stigma regarding the issues of illness, disabilities and low incomes. The residents reply that, in fact, many of them did have careers, and many are still employed and working.
The residents added that the Towers is a place where people can truly come together and build each other up. At Decker Towers, residents state that their “lives are evolving as we work to overcome substantial adversities and try to avoid further social divide.” This is a place for healing, for coming together, and for growing together.
Residents are upset that their home was portrayed in a negative, gloomy light. In reality, many residents feel their home in the Towers is just the opposite- it is a place for support and safety.
This letter shows the Burlington community that residents, as a matter of fact, have a say too. Residents have an important voice, something which should always be remembered.