Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What They Said

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.


  1. The recent change in plans makes Galvan appear "more mercurial than ever," or more mercenary then ever?!

  2. having just looked up the definition of "mercurial",I'm going to have to go with the most obvious"mercenary".Not sure why "mercurial" was a tag given to Galloway in the first place.

    1. Prison Alley--I have to respond to your comment because I thought Ellen Thurston's use of "mercurial" to describe Galvan was brilliant. The pertinent meaning here is "characterized by rapid and unpredictable changeableness of mood," and that's exactly what Galloway watchers have seen over the years. The project at Union and First streets had to be fast-tracked through the regulatory boards, it had to be done, Hudson NEEDED it. Then when it got its approvals, nothing happened, and six or seven years later, the regulatory boards had to go through the same dog and pony show again. Same with the Brousseau Building, which is still empty after eight years. Then there's the Hudson Arcade--Hudson NEEDS a grocery store--but when the approvals are secured, no work begins. Then there's the restaurant proposed for Dunn's Warehouse: trot out the cheerleaders, belittle the doubters, then decide you're not going to do it after all. Then there's Civic Hudson. Sell it to the City as a solution to a decades-old problem, then change the game. I think mercurial is a perfect word.

    2. Since that is the meaning,meant ,then I would agree absolutely.The word 'mercurial' has been used to describe Galloway since I moved here.
      I was confused as there are many meanings to that word,more like a description of a sign in the zodiac.The one you just described would be one of them,and a perfect fit.
      Not so for the other meanings in the dictionary.

  3. What does a "homeless shelter" provide to its residents other then a place to stay?
    Will there be a kitchen, a cook, a cleaning staff, a house manager w/ a staff, clothing, etc.?
    How long can a person stay there?
    What programs will be available for the residents; education, employment, recreation?
    What do other NYS Counties provide for their homeless citizens.
    The Warren Inn is for sale.
    Should the County consider buying it & providing a "house manager"?
    Should Hudson consider changing its name to Galvan?

    1. It is a tedious read but you can Google these regulations for answers to your questions regarding what shelters over 20 beds must provide to single homeless men and women in New York State: 18NYCRRPart491-Shelters for Adults. The regs for homeless families are also online.

  4. Dear tmdonofrio:

    I have been advocating for a public meeting since these discussions about a homeless shelter in Hudson began. I would hope that such questions as yours (good questions, by the way) could be answered at such a meeting. We--the residents of Hudson--need answers.

    --Ellen Thurston
    Third Ward Supervisor

  5. A reader shared this observation with Gossips and agreed to let me publish it as a comment:

    The community conversation about the proposed homeless shelter has focused on the bricks and mortar aspect, the location, and the possible populations to be served, but there has been little, if any, discussion about site management.

    A strong, experienced (and by experienced, I mean depth of experience, not six months or nine months of experience) manager with integrity, who either currently enjoys productive relationships with local law enforcement agencies, or has the ability to build those relationships, relationships with food pantries, social service agencies, drug and alcohol treatment agencies, as well as faith based institutions.

    Site management is tough. Some people think it is "just waiting for toilets to break"; other people think it is a part-time job for full-time pay. It is neither.

    A great site manager has to show up every day - not every work day - but every calendar day; that includes weekends and holidays. Great site managers have to possess equal parts compassion and toughness. Most people who end up in shelters are there as a result of some combination of bad luck, bad choices, bad timing, and bad circumstances. But there are rules that have to be followed, by everyone.

    More questions need to be asked about who will be hired for these positions and what their qualifications are, on paper, and in the field.

    1. It is all in the regs: staff ratio to census; rehab services; linkages, etc. Unfortunately many programs pay shelter staff very little and get what they pay for so to speak. My question would be this: who will be supervising the shelter staff? Will it be a M.S.W. from the Mental Health Association? If so, will this person be budgeted full time, part time, quarter time?

  6. Do you mean the GalVanShelter™ site manager that will be paid $26,000/year & has no formal training?

  7. What person with formal training would work for $26,000. per year?

  8. Might explain some of the bad press on conditions of Galloway's Lantern Group Homeless SRO's in NYC.That's why I do not get how the BOS is justifying this by saving tax dollars.
    GaLvan gets grant money to build empty rooms and baths, some empty rooms for future programs,renovate his own property,gets taken off tax roll What else does he get?Free Hudson services.garbage.snow removal,insurances/liabilities.does he pay utilities,Staff and maintenance etc.?

    In a motel,utilities,insurances beds and furniture,curtains.Clean towels and linens and maid service, cable,desk clerk, garbage and snow removal are in that price of the room.Plus motel is on tax roll.
    I would like to see the comparative price of what GalVan is getting paid and services he is supplying and the source of that money&services and what the city,county,state has to pay on top of that, for a whole number per unit,including care.Anyone qualifying for homeless SRO,will be on Med.Benefits and food and shelter sty-pin.Does GalVan collect stypins as well for money to feed residents?, on top of what county will be paying him?

    I am not supporting the use of Motels,but the 'saving figures 'being tossed out by GalVan and BOS are deceiving.What are the real total costs per head going to be now and over time?
    How much will this cost us in tax dollars and how much does GalVan stand to gain?Who are we helping ,since there are so limited dollars for all homeless-families,women with children,
    teens.if such a disprortionate amount of monenies avaiable are being used for such a select catagory of single homeless.