Advocates for the homeless note that the recession has contributed to a
rise homelessness. In Columbia County, there are two housing proposals
under consideration by the County Board of Supervisors. Hudson Valley
Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Two organizations have proposals before the the Board of Supervisors'
Human Services Committee that address the issue of creating suitable
homeless and transitional housing. Of five organizations that had
expressed interest in housing, only two submitted bids: Maranatha Human
Services of Poughkeepsie, and a joint venture by the Mental Health
Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, Inc. and the Galvan Foundation.
Maranatha's offer would house the county's homeless for $680,000 per
year. MHA-Galvin's plan would cost the county $611,015 per year.
Maranatha Human Services had no one available for comment - Neither plan
provides for homeless families; but families ARE heading south to New
York City, where anyone homeless has a right to shelter guaranteed under
Rachel Wine-stein is vice president of development and communications
for Volunteers of America in Greater New york - she says "Right to
Shelter" is definitely attracting homeless families from upstate.
According to figures published in the Register-STar, Columbia County
Department of Social Services indicated that there were 36 motel rooms
being used to house 27 single homeless people and eight families, for a
total of 59 homeless individuals at the end of April. On March 1, the
county reported that it had 32 rooms being used to house the homeless.
Galvan Initiatives Foundation Executive Director Tom Swope questions the accuracy of the numbers.
Columbia County DSS had no one available for comment: public records
show the county currently spends approximately $70 a night to house its
homeless population in motels.
The Board of Supervisors will review the bid documents before their next
meeting on May 30th.