At the meeting of the Board of Supervisors Human Services Committee on Wednesday, July 18, Art Bassin, the supervisor from Ancram, asked Paul Mossman, Commissioner of Social Services, if he had been "in conversation with the City of Hudson." Bill Hughes, Hudson supervisor from the Fourth Ward and now outspoken supporter of the Galvan proposal, took it upon himself to answer. He claimed the project has the support of Mayor Bill Hallenbeck and Common Council President Don Moore--both of whom were present and confirmed that--and of the aldermen from the Second, Fourth, and Fifth wards. Ohrine Stewart (Fourth Ward) and Wanda Pertilla (Second Ward, and Hughes' sister) were present at the committee meeting, but neither spoke. No mention was made of the aldermen representing the First and Third wards.
Earlier today, Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward) made known his opinion of the plan to shelter all the county's homeless in Hudson. Haddad agreed to let Gossips put his statement, which originally appeared on a listserv, before a wider audience. What follows is Haddad's statement:
Let us not for a moment confuse "homeless shelter" with the appropriate sympathy the description conjures.
This is the "industry of poverty and want" purely and simply. A private organization attempting to capitalize upon the perceived needs of a community which over the past twenty years has striven mightily by dint of its industrious merchants and residents to pull itself out of the morass of all too well meaning but misguided Federal and local programs which have been proven unsustainable.
The CARES report for Columbia County obviates the reasoning put forward for this proposal. The privatization of services for issues which are solely the responsibility of the County and the local officials in its cities and townships is the all too convenient fall back position of local officials pushing the onus forward. Under the delusion that somehow it will save the taxpayers money by postponing the inevitable financial burden to be shouldered by another generation.
Simply put the math doesn't work in the short or long term. The only way it works for the developer is to "import" homeless single males to populate the proposed facility. The proposal does not address the needs of homeless families or the children thereof in any meaningful sense.
Our responsibilty is to care for the needs of our own, within our extended community, [and] we must make every effort to end the homeless situation in Columbia County. And by doing so in some measure we can help the needs of the many. DSS must do its job and do it well.
The "poverty industry" is not an industry we wish to encourage or invite into our community. It doesn't create jobs, it isn't a sales tax generator and it is non-contributory to the body politic.
We owe ourselves and those in need better than this concept, as do our elected officials.