Bunker Hill Cooperative: Pioneering The First of its Kind Disaster-Preparedness Plan in Vermont
Here is a fascinating story of a housing co-op community coming together and doing things a bit differently than the mainstream. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, the residents of the current Bunker Hill Community Cooperative were all almost kicked off the land when their landlords were looking to sell their mobile home park. Instead, the residents worked together, alongside CDI, to buy the land and to retain their homes – something none of them could have done on their own. Well, earlier this month, the Bunker Hill Community Cooperative participated in an exercise, called “Operation Move Your Caboose,” which was facilitated by a team of professionals from disaster-preparedness organizations. Following a presentation covering the emergency management planning, the co-op members then went into a tabletop scenario of a train wreck near the park. Eleven co-op members were then pressed into action as they would be in a real event, working through the events and responding to the changing situation as the facilitators interjected new scenarios into the mix.
Most impressively, however, is that out of this initiative, the Bunker Hill Cooperative is soon to complete a disaster-preparedness plan – the first of its kind in the state of Vermont for small communities. In addition, the co-op says that this exercise brought to their attention the need for remedies for serious “trouble spots” that caused issues throughout their scenario — the need for centrally located emergency response boxes with items like all weather fire extinguishers, pliers, cutters, and respirators. Already, they are working to include a park-wide siren system along with CO2 and smoke detectors.
We’re hard pressed to think of another community where the residents would be afforded an opportunity like this – to actively band together, identify the dangers they face, and to figure out and implement solutions. This is certainly light-years ahead of where Bunker Hill was before they converted to a cooperative, when they were all nearly evicted from their homes.
Resident-Owned Communities On the News
A summit of VT housing co-ops including representatives of VT’s six mobile home co-ops held earlier this month made the news! Featured in the video below is Dimitry Krementsov, board member of the Shelburnewood Resident Association, which has been working with CDI to purchase their community as a resident-owned cooperative over the past year. We are truly inspired by their efforts and delighted to be working with them.