Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Home for the Homeless

Tom Casey reports in today's Register-Star that Maranatha Human Services, Inc., the not-for-profit that is planning to establish and operate a homeless shelter in Columbia County, is considering two locations:  farm in Livingston, which is "attractive to the group because of its lack of neighbors," and 834 Warren Street in Hudson, located at the three-way intersection of Warren Street, Worth Avenue, and Prospect Avenue. 

In the case of both properties, acquisition seems beset with problems. Read the details in "Two locations proposed for homeless housing." 


  1. This is something I've been watching closely. Last year, the same nonprofit was considering buying the old COARC house on the 800 block of Warren Street, but discussions didn't progress. While I understand the need for transitional housing, the continued discussion of 834 Warren being used for this purpose really displeases me. Doesn't anyone remember how things worked out at the Sunset Motel? People living in the motel were breaking into the restaurant/recreation place across the street, plus it turned out that at least one registered sex offender was included in the list of tenants. I am not bringing this up to say that people who are struggling are thieves and deviants -- we all face hard times at some point or another, and could easily end up in need of assistance with just a few bad turns. However, as offensive as this may sound to ears only concerned with political correctness, there is no doubt that transitional housing brings an element of uncertainty to a neighborhood.

    I live on the 800 block of Warren Street with my family, which includes two very young girls. My sister and her high school-aged niece live across the street. Directly behind my house (and 834) is a preschool. A pediatrician just moved her office last weekend to a building across the street. This is a neighborhood of families, a neighborhood FILLED with children during the day. Does this really seem like the best location for transitional housing? The person who currently owns that building has been involved in one way or another in this neighborhood for as long as I can remember. Is he just so ready to cash out that the impact of such a sale on the neighborhood as a whole is just not a consideration?

    On top of all of it, what impact do you think an establishment such as this one has on the value of the surrounding houses? I guess when you're selling that's not a consideration. The house right next door to 834 was purchased last summer from the same person that owns 834. From what I understand, it will be completely renovated and restored by the new owner to something closer to its original state (pre-addition, etc). That house has been in desperate need of attention for years and it's finally going to get it...or will it if the owner finds out what is going to be 20 feet from his house?

    I know that this sounds like typical "not in my back yard" speak. I'm sure you're picturing a staunch conservative in your mind. Think again. I am the most liberal of liberals, and I have spent a lot of my life fighting for the rights and freedoms of others. I am also a hard worker, a mom, a home owner, and someone with a deeply vested interest in this community.

    I hope with all my heart that we're able to find a location to service Columbia County's homeless that is workable for everyone. In the meantime, I will voice my opinion against the 834 Warren option every chance I get.

  2. The County has come up with another doozy of an idea. Just when upper Warren 700 block is jumping with activity, half the block sold to good investors recently, and the purchase of the long vacant Dr. Ullman house to a Canadian architect in the 800 block, he is now consdering selling it's neighbor for a homeless shelter. I daresay there is a great need for a center and I don't see the sense in housing people at the Berkshire Motel or Sunset Motel at great expense to the taxpayers, but to put them in a former mansion and the gateway to Warren Street and in a soon to be expanded business district makes no sense whatsoever. Get with it County and City - this can't be allowed.

    1. Jennifer, we're going to need to make our voices heard, show up at every relevant meeting, etc., or this could very well go through. Sandy Ullman is going to dump that property to whomever he can as long as the price is right.