From the editor: Who’s counting? | From the Editor | Seven days

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  • Illustrated by Diana Bolton

Derek Brouwer’s coverage this week shows how the housing crisis is driving up rents for Vermonters in multiple income brackets. A couple, in gainful employment and earning an annual income of over $100,000, refused to leave the Essex Junction home they were renting when its landlord refused to renew their monthly arrangement so she could offer the place at a much higher rate. .

The landlord shares her reasoning for the increase and lessons learned from pursuing legal action to evict the couple to ‘tenants’ jail’.

The story is part of Seven days‘Locked Out’ series, a year-long exploration of factors contributing to one of Vermont’s greatest challenges: the shortage of affordable housing for the people who live and work here.

We knew such a complex issue couldn’t be fully explained in a single article, hence the half-dozen in-depth reports the press team has produced to date. We’ve covered the weird stuff — land use regulations, municipal sewer systems, bills — without losing sight of the impacts of a shelter shortage on real people.

“Renters’ Prison” is the seventh installment in the series. Who counts ? We are. The same goes for our fiscal sponsor, Journalism Funding Partners. Working with JFP has allowed Seven days operate as a non-profit news organization when it comes to low-key projects considered “charitable”. The “Locked Out” series qualifies. Through JFP, readers who want to help fund our investigative reporting on the housing crisis can get a tax deduction on donations of $2,000 or more.

This means a responsibility of a different nature than Seven days, a for-profit agile journal, is used to. We need to produce a dozen stories on the subject in 2022, as promised, and generate reports detailing spend, reach and impact in order to get the money JFP holds on our behalf.

This is the first time we have funded our reporting this way – the latest effort to diversify the revenue that pays for our news gathering. We’ve spent about $30,000 so far on “Locked Out” reporting and illustration. Reader donations for the series cover about a third of that.

Halfway through, in our six-month report for JFP, editor Matthew Roy wrote of the project, “We provide depth and context to the examination of a complex issue, which helps to laying the groundwork for future solutions.We’ve laid bare Vermont’s nimby nature, demographic challenges, and barriers to attracting and keeping young families.Many business, cultural, and political leaders in the state are ringing l ‘alarm – and are looking for solutions. We have elevated housing as an issue, and candidates on the campaign trail all identify it as a major concern.’

Gary Winslett, an assistant professor of political science at Middlebury College, summed up the series more succinctly on Twitter in April: “The @sevendaysvt series ‘Locked Out’ about Vermont’s housing crisis is definitely worth reading. , not just for Vermonters, but for anyone who wants to understand housing issues today.”

If you have a housing-related tip or horror story to share, send it to us at [email protected] There are at least five more stories to come.