Lola Duffort from vtdigger reports on Vermonters who are aging, and unhoused in her story: As Vermont ages, so do many of its unhoused residents

Nearly a fifth of Vermonters experiencing homelessness during the state’s most recent headcount were 55 or older, according to a VTDigger analysis. Advocates say they face daunting risks and challenges.

Not too long ago, Valerie Fisher had what she called a “cushy, comfortable life.” The 69-year-old was raised in Northfield, attended Norwich University and even lived in Europe, doing translating work before having two children. 

Valerie Fisher outside her apartment at Good Samaritan Haven, a former motel on the Barre-Montpelier Road in Berlin, on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Fisher returned to Northfield to care for her ailing parents, whose home she later inherited. Unable to keep up with tax payments, she was forced to sell the house and move into an apartment in town. Fisher liked the duplex, but a few years later her landlord sold the building to someone new, she said, who decided he wanted to move into Fisher’s unit — and kicked her out. 

“The bottom fell out of my world really quickly,” she told a reporter last week, sitting in an office at the Good Samaritan Haven’s shelter in Berlin. 

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