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Glens Falls Building To House Homeless Shelter

An emergency homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Glens Falls, New York has closed on a new property. The organization aims to move its operations into the new space by next winter.

The Open Door Mission has a new home.

For the past two years, the organization which offers hot meals and warms beds on cold nights to the homeless has been operating its Code Blue program out of the former Warren County Teen Detention Facility.  Now, with a recent closing, Open Door will relocate to its own space on Warren Street in Glens Falls.

The 40,000 square foot building was home to a furniture company. It will now hold a 40-bed, year-round shelter that will be incorporated with a 1-year rehabilitation program.  

Open Door Executive Director Kim Cook says the organization’s soup kitchen sees a steady demand.

“Our dining room seats 30 and at the end of the month we may have over 60 people. So there are people, I believe, would come if it was a more calm environment. So I think our numbers will grow once we move. We run, on average, about 14 people a night. Those are the people who are falling through the cracks,” said Cook.

Open Door also runs a food pantry and feeds 300 students through a backpack program.

“And then we teach Bridges Out of Poverty classes to people who work with those in poverty in the area. And we’re expanding to do more education with people who are in poverty to help them become sustainable,” said Cook.

Open Door is embarking on a $5 million capital campaign. There’s a goal to raise $1.75 million locally and obtain the rest through grant funding.

Chris Hunsinger, an Open Door board member, said the organization is looking for community partners as it moves forward.

“One of the things that we’ve said all along is we really need the community to help us in this effort. We recognize that we can’t do this as one organization, that it really takes a whole community, and there’s really a role for everybody who’s interested to help play. Whether it be volunteering or fundraising or partnering with us to provide services,” said Hunsinger.

State officials, including Assemblyman Dan Stec and Senator Betty Little, were on hand for an announcement Thursday.

The permanent shelter would be the second in Warren, Washington, and Saratoga Counties. Currently, Shelters of Saratoga in Saratoga Springs is the only permanent homeless shelter.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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