On Wednesday, Maranatha Human Services made a presentation at a special meeting of the Columbia County Human Services Committee. Nathan Mayberg covers some of the highlights and outcomes of the meeting in today's Register-Star: "Shelter plan postposed; proposals sought."
What was not clear until last night is that, although Maranatha has been shopping for property in Columbia County, they do not yet have a contract with the County to provide for the local homeless population, which at the moment numbers 56 individuals (of whom 4 or 5 are sex offenders, who would not be served by the program) and 9 families. Maranatha approached Paul Mossman, Commissioner for Social Services, in the fall of 2009, offering to assist with the homeless "challenges" in Columbia County, and since an initial meeting in January 2010, they have spent "countless numbers of staff hours working with DSS."
Although at the present they have no specific locations in mind, Maranatha is proposing a "three tier" program--with both the first and the last of the three tiers requiring a "permanent facility." Tier 1 involves an emergency transitional facility, which will provide "wraparound" 24-hour services; Tier 2 involves putting people into existing apartments in the community on a temporary basis, with continuing case management; Tier 3 involves independent housing in a permanent low-income facility.
Interestingly, Al Coley, president and CEO of Maranatha, said he'd met with former mayor Richard Scalera at some point and "got his permission to move forward" on 834 Warren Street. Scalera, who is now Fifth Ward supervisor, was at the meeting and took the opportunity, after the Maranatha presentation, to explain that he had merely told Coley that 834 Warren Street was in the part of the city zoned for group homes.
As Mayberg reported, the committee decided to have Maranatha present a formal proposal and to solicit proposals from other agencies as well. Catholic Charities was mentioned, as was Peter Young Housing, Industries & Treatment. Since, in yesterday's discussion on WGXC, Tom Swope stated that the Galvan Initiatives Foundation is committed to helping Hudson and Columbia County solve their homeless problem, perhaps Galvan Initiatives, or possibly Eric Galloway's other not-for-profit, the Lantern Organization, will be submitting a proposal.