As the plan to make the City of Hudson the repository for all the homeless single adults who find their way to Columbia County moves relentlessly forward, one wonders when and if the planners will ever pause to wonder what the residents of Hudson think of the idea. At public meetings and from newspaper articles, we've learned that the project has the support of Don Moore, who is impressed by the services promised, Mayor Hallenbeck, who is looking for some "consideration" from the county in return for making Hudson the home of the homeless, Bill Hughes, who claims the project already has the support of the majority of the Common Council, and a future neighbor of the proposed facility, who thinks it's time people were more "human" toward each other. So far, however, there has been no public forum in which dissenting opinions about the shelter or concerns about its impact on our city could be expressed, but that opportunity may be coming, if the planners can just figure out when.
Nathan Mayberg reports in today's Register-Star that the Columbia County Homeless Plan Implementation Committee is "looking at holding a community forum" in Hudson about the proposed homeless shelter and transitional housing facility: "A chance to speak up about shelter project." They are, the article indicates, thinking of September as a time for this forum.
September is more than a month off, and by September, according to the timeline the project seems to be on, the Columbia County Board of Supervisors will likely have already voted on the proposal and the project will have started its journey through the City of Hudson regulatory boards--Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic Preservation Commission. Tom Swope, executive director of the Galvan Initiatives Foundation whose project this is, anticipates that the Planning Commission will schedule its public hearing on the project for some time in September, possibly mid-September. CARES, the not-for-profit that designed the county plan to end homelessness and now heads up the Homeless Plan Implementation Committee, wants the forum to be held before the Planning Commission holds its public hearing.
It would make sense to have the forum even sooner--before the Board of Supervisors votes on the proposal. Richard Keaveney, the supervisor from Canaan who sits on the committee and supports the shelter, is quoted in Mayberg's article as saying "in the end, it's going to be the city who decides." That statement, of course, raises the perennial question: Who or what is "the city"?