This morning on Victor Mendolia's show @Issue, the topic was the current proposal for providing emergency and transitional housing in Hudson and the people discussing it were Common Council president Don Moore and Hudson supervisors Sarah Sterling (First Ward) and Ellen Thurston (Third Ward). It was a timely moment for this discussion, since only yesterday it was learned that the facility proposed by Galvan for State and Seventh streets--a proposal that was expected to be voted on by the Columbia County Board of Supervisors next Wednesday--has grown from 15 units to 37 units to now 44 units. Moore and Sterling have both stated publicly that they supported the proposal for State and Seventh streets, but, as Sterling said this morning, "It's a whole new ballgame now." Her assessment of the new plan: "By enlarging it, they've created a monster."
Moore urged that we "all need to be very reserved about the Seventh and State proposal," calling it "a plan that needs to be better organized and better explained."
Thurston, as she has before, called for more input from the City of Hudson--defining "the City of Hudson" not as the mayor and the Common Council president but as the residents of Hudson, particularly those who live in close proximity to the proposed facility. She alleged that Galvan is "totally out of touch with the community" and this most recent change in plans "makes them appear more mercurial than ever." Later in the discussion, Moore took up the theme, saying that Galloway "should be more involved in public discussions of projects" and pointing out that his spokespeople say contradictory things.
Moore wondered about the size of the homeless population and asked, "Why does it have to be only in Hudson?" He pointed out that "Galvan says that [Hudson is] the only place they will work," thus making it necessary, if Galvan is to be involved, that Hudson shoulder the burden for the entire county. Moore called this "unacceptable as policy."
At some point in the discussion, Sterling made the point that Eric Galloway's pattern of buying buildings, emptying them of tenants, and leaving them stand empty for years was in part responsible for the homeless situation. Toward the end of the discussion, Thurston talked about the amount of subsidized housing that already exists in Hudson, asking rhetorically, "How much is too much?"
When time was about to run out, Moore put forth the idea that Columbia County should come up with a public works project that would put people to work--thus shifting the focus and the investment of public funds to the prevention of homelessness rather than dealing with its costly consequences. Earlier Sterling had posited that preventing a family from being evicted from their home could cost as little as $750--much less than dealing with the situation once they have lost their home.
The full hour-long discussion has now been archived on WGXC and can be heard by clicking here.