Thursday, March 1, 2012

Special BOS Meeting Next Week

Gossips has learned that there will be a special meeting of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, March 7, at 5 p.m., at 401 State Street. The purpose of the meeting is to hear a presentation by Maranatha Human Services, Inc., the not-for-profit that is planning to establish and operate a homeless shelter in Columbia County. One of the properties they are reportedly considering is this once elegant home at the top of Warren Street, at a gateway to the city and in close proximity to new businesses that are revitalizing upper Warren Street.


  1. This building is also directly in front of a pre-school and down the street from two bars.
    Let's not forget the Registered Sex Offenders living, respectively, at Room #22 at the Warren Inn, 731 Warren Street and at 44 8th Street. For a full list of offenders living in our neighborhoods Go to offenderid=8261. Putting vulnerable homeless families near bars and registered sexual predators makes no sense. Putting another homeless shelter in front of a preschool, in an area that is finally attracting upscale businesses that will bring jobs and more money into Hudson makes no sense. Having an area zoned for transitional housing abutting residential areas full of children and commercial businesses makes no sense. It's time to look over the horizon to Hudson's future and start thinking about re-zoning this area. It may have made sense to zone this neighborhood for transitional housing years ago, but at this point it's just bad city planning.

  2. These kinds of proposals are so bizarre as to make one wonder if they are not done purposely, to keep Hudson in the grip of failure.

    --peter m.

  3. I don't support this project for this space for a variety of reasons: Warren is increasingly commercial and not ideally suited for children given the extra traffic it experiences. Additionally, the 3rd Ward already has a significant institutional housing project in its midst: the prison. I can't think of a good reason why another institution has to be in the 3rd.

    But the greatest reason why this proposal is flawed is because it seeks to locate folks who are without transportation far away from the things they need: supermarkets within walking distance, job opportunities, laundromats, etc. Given this, it seems to me that the best place for this type of housing is along the Hudson/Greenport line on or near the boulevards/Fairview Avenue where all the jobs, markets and laundromats are. This is also a short walk to RR Avenue (DSS) and Columbia Street where most of the County services are. Alternatively, I think somewhere like Town Hall Dr. in Greenport is a good area with open land, etc.

    Finally, I think there's a lot of miscommunication about this proposal. It's not a homeless shelter -- it's transitional housing. There is a difference. As for the bars -- not sure why they are a problem . . . lots of people live near bars: rich, poor, etc. Also not clear on why the proximity to a preschool is an issue as only single mothers and their minor children would be housed there. Seems like some of the kids in this proposed project might attend that preschool.

    All that said, I don't believe this building is seriously considered for this use anymore due to the fact that it is in such a spectacularly bad location for this type of project given the commercial developments of upper Warren.

  4. (Forgive me if this is essentially a duplicate post -- something got snarled in an attempt to post a comment a few minutes ago. In fact Gossips can ignore this totally if it's a repeat.)

    Peter these proposals make total sense if one sees that the biggest industry in Hudson is the Industry of Poverty, with its subdivisions of housing for the poor, social services for the poor, and prisons (of which Hudson has three I beleive, or maybe it's two prisons and a reform school).

    The money flows and employment of the Industry of Poverty (remember the fight about moving DSS out of Hudson?) dwarf the revenue flow from antiques, nice restaurants cute B&Bs etc.

    Linda Mussman knows this. Eric Galloway knows this. Many others know this.

    The homeless shelter is probably a terrible idea but will probably sail through the approval process because it's one more addition to the biggest business in town.

    -- Jock Spivy

  5. Jock--Hudson only has one prison: the Hudson Correctional Facility, on the grounds of the Dr. Oliver Bronson estate. (I love reversing that!) You're probably also thinking of the facility on Spook Rock Road, which is, I believe, for youth and isn't in Hudson but in Greenport. But I agree with you about the industry of poverty.

  6. Thanks Carole. One prison in Hudson plus what in my long-ago youth was called a Reform School right next door.

    To put the money flow from Poverty and Prisons in perspective: according to a story on Channel 5 news in New York City (the Fox affiliate, a powerhouse local station), the AVERAGE (i.e., mean) compensation for employees at the Hudson prison is $125,000 per annum. That of course includes the gold-plated fringe and retirement benefits that we all wish we had.

    Is there ANY private business in Hudson, or in all of Columbia County, with an AVERAGE compensation equal to that? I'd certainly like to know what it is. The biggest private employer in Columbia County is Taconic Farms which may even be a public company and I very much doubt that they hit that level.

    That is why proposals like the transitional housing/homeless shelter whatever it is are likely to be embraced with open arms. These organizations/institutions reinforce each other (as in the earlier post here, where the argument is made that this shelter should be near DSS so the occupants can get to DSS easily).

    The Industry of Poverty dominates upstate New York and IMHO is one of the reasons for its ongoing stagnation and decline.

    -- Jock Spivy

  7. The industry of poverty was really thriving in the 1970's and 1980's in Hudson, it was it's only business, until people started to buy buildings on Warren Street and fix them up with their own equity. Buildings were returned to commercial on the ground floor and refurbished apartments upstairs, commanding higher rents ( due to improvements and tax increases slapped on owners by the various Assessors). I had hoped that the poverty industry was not quite such a powerful industry as it used to be, but I can see that it is still fighting to keep a hold. More jobs come with small businesses believe it or not and to discourage business by putting housing for transients at a key corner of Warren does not make any sense. I agree with John that the Fairview corridor would make a lot more sense. I will not be able to make the Wednesday 7th March meeting due to a prior commitment but I hope there will be a big turnout.

  8. Jennifer I'm sure you're right that the Warren Street retailers et al. create more jobs and property values, but there is more never-ending cash money in the Industry of Poverty. And it doesn't stop flowing even when the general economy tanks.

    Is there any business on Warren Street where EVERY employee including the guy who sweeps the place out makes $125,000 per year?(Nothing matches the prison jobs.)

    It wasn't by accident in my view that Eric Galloway proposed low income housing for the empty parcel on Warren Street (was it at Warren and Fifth Streets?). I read recently -- perhaps on Gossips -- that his GalVan Foundation has the ability to help develop low income and subsidized housing.

    With 20% of Hudson's residents below the poverty line according to the 2010 Census, the Industry of Poverty will not go away.

    -- Jock Spivy

  9. John: what is the difference between "homeless shelter" and "transitional housing"? I was going to ask the question at the Bd of Supervisors meeting next Wednesday + what type of housing is 834 Warren being proposed for: people just out of rehab w/ children? just out of prison w/ children? battered women w/ children? All the same, I agree that there is no place for relocated families to purchase food or clothing, do their laundry, find jobs on upper Warren Street but that Greenport & the areas lining Fairview Avenue offer more opportunities. It makes no sense either for the community already living here or the people who need to be relocated to new housing.

  10. Mea culpa. I know where Hudson ends and Greenport begins, but I'm not so clear about where Greenport ends and Claverack begins. I was informed by a reader that Brookwood, the correctional facility I mentioned on Spook Rock Road, is in Claverack not Greenport.

  11. The Industry of Poverty I believe is the crux of the "US vs THEM" battle that has plagued Hudsons rebirth since the Antiques dealers began her revival in the 1980's.

    The powers that be have no other vision for Hudson than this,

    Gentrification for positive economic growth pulling Hudson up the ladder is not acceptable politics.

  12. To restate the obvious GAVEN is an Industry of Poverty under the guise of the "Doris Duke Foundation" with untold resources to alter this whole town to their liking.

    This is why Scalera is on their team .

    What a scam!

  13. From Register Star Dec31,2011 "...Tom Swope and outgoing Mayor Rick Scalera have been appointed by developers T. Eric Galloway and Henry van Ameringen to key posts in their new nonprofit organization, the GalVan Initiatives Foundation"...Scalera, who is stepping down from his long tenure as mayor and will become the new 5th ward supervisor next week, is looking forward to working for Galvan.
    He said he expects it to be “exciting and very rewarding to go around to nonprofits and charitable organizations struggling to stay in existence, and to be able to help them through the process of receiving some of this funding.” ...
    He said his hours would be limited, since he also will have his duties as supervisor to tend to. If a vote involving GalVan should come before the Board of Supervisors, Scalea said he would recuse himself. .......
    Article featuring T.Eric Galloway and his Lantern Organization
    Monday, August 22, 2011
    In the 1950s and 1960s, the practice of "blockbusting" became commonplace. Speculators depressed housing prices by scaring away white middle-class residents. Then they resold the properties to black homebuyers at artificially inflated prices, often resulting in default and further devaluation.
    Today the practice of blockbusting continues, except now it's largely minority renters that the investors want out. The new buyers are us, the taxpayers, underwriting the supportive housing industry.
    Government agencies pay supportive-housing profiteers far above market rate for buildings they convert from normal rentals to taxpayer-subsidized housing for the mentally ill. For each "special-needs" tenant their facilities house, investors can collect more than $3,000 a month. Protected by rent stabilization, existing residents, who might only pay $500 a month for the same unit, often stand in the way of maximum profits. So investors use the threat of the incoming population to scare them off.
    In the case of St. Louis Hall, a six-story residence on W. 94th St., supportive-housing developers known as Lantern Organization and its for-profit wing, the Lantern Management Group, have a blockbuster at their disposal called "NY/NY III." In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg and then-Gov. George Pataki started this initiative to house the city's most high-risk group of homeless single adults, with problems ranging from persistent mental illness and chemical addiction to HIV/AIDS. While pursuing a noble goal, the champions of NY/NY III failed to anticipate how supportive-housing speculators would use NY/NY III as a weapon to intimidate existing residents.
    "To scare the Hispanic tenants, they had someone yelling immigration. They distributed flyers saying they are bringing in a population with AIDS, " says Aaron Biller, president of Neighborhood in the Nineties, of Lantern. Biller's organization, which sees a disproportionate number of supportive housing facilities on the upper West Side, litigated against Lantern's plans for St. Louis Hall since first proposed five years ago. Earlier this year, the group successfully opposed the conversion of the Alexander, a neighboring building, into a homeless shelter.
    "They are putting them here because Gale Brewer and company think it's okay," Biller says of his City Council representatives. "It's classism and racism on the part of high-minded individuals. The community is set up for failure with a devastating population. And nothing clears a building faster. They are driving people out and have a huge economic incentive to do it." That's bad news for longtime residents. It's not good for the troubled populations that come in, either, as they require greater supervision than these facilities provide.
    (Page 1 of 2) post

  14. CONT... But the practice is rewarding to the developers. In 2008, CBS News conducted an investigation into Lantern that the organization "took millions of dollars from the city to provide clean, safe and affordable housing for the mentally ill, recovering drug addicts and others in need," but put them "in deplorable conditions." At the St. Louis, CBS reported "deteriorating conditions under Lantern's ownership," including longtime residents who were now sharing rooms "with rats, mice, roaches, bedbugs and ...dangerously toxic black mold." When the station tracked down Lantern's president, Eric Galloway, at his 6,000-square-foot mansion in upstate Hudson, he refused to comment.
    How these developers reap their profits has much to do with the close relationship between the supportive housing industry and the government agencies that fund them. Before joining Lantern as executive director, Jessica Katz worked at New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. At HPD, according to Lantern's website, Katz was "responsible for an annual Supportive Housing pipeline worth over $100 million." More than $15 million of that went to Lantern as an interest-free loan.
    But the residents of the St. Louis are digging in. "The Lantern Group feels that they can bully and intimidate someone until they can leave," says Robert Atkins, a musician who has lived at the St. Louis for five years and now fights to keep his home. "If this were a building with a predominantly white population, they wouldn't try to get away with this.
    "You want to know how shady these people are? I refused to move. So all of a sudden there is a massive flood. They caused a flood in my room of feces and urine, which destroyed my guitars. It smelled atrocious, so I couldn't stay here."
    Still, Atkins keeps fighting. "This whole affordable housing thing is a hoax. It's not affordable to the taxpayer. It's not affordable to the poor. The only people who are making out on it are doing so at the taxpayers' expense. The neighbors lose and the neighborhood loses."
    Panero, the managing editor of The New Criterion, is at work on a longer article about the upper West Side for City Journal.
    Read more:
    Read more:

  15. . . . and THIS is what the next big change is that's happening to our town as we speak ???