Thursday, May 17, 2012

Proposals for Homeless Housing

On Wednesday, the Human Services Committee of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors held its monthly meeting. The last item on the agenda was a review of the proposals for housing the homeless that had been received on May 11. When the meeting, which had already gone on for more than an hour and a half, finally got to that point, Supervisor Betty Young (Taghkanic), who chairs the committee, called for a motion to go into executive session. Register-Star reporter Nathan Mayberg objected, saying that RFPs are public documents and so are the proposals submitted. Young said that county attorney Robert Fitzsimmons had determined that they could go into executive session. Among the reasons cited were that they would be discussing the budget, they would be comparing competitive bids, they would be talking about a contract. Mayberg was adamant. None of these things justified an executive session. At one point, after the committee's reasons for wanting to go into executive session had been reiterated, Young turned to Mayberg and asked sharply, "Can't you get that through your head?" 

In the end, it was decided, on Young's suggestion, that committee members would take copies of the two proposals home to study and the committee would reconvene to discuss them at a special meeting. When Mayberg said, "I object to that, too," Young replied sharply, "Too bad." Ironically, Young's tactic to avoid discussing the proposals in a public meeting was the very action that made the documents public. It was subsequently determined by legal counsel that once they were distributed to the members of the committee, the proposals ceased to be private or confidential. 

Mayberg's report on the meeting (omitting coverage of his face-down with Young) and the contents of the two proposals received is in today's Register-Star: "County gets 2 proposal for housing."  The two proposals came from Maranatha Human Services Inc. and a collaboration between the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties and the Galvan Initiatives Foundation calling itself Civic Hudson Emergency and Transitional Housing Corporation. In its proposal, Maranatha is not specific about where their facility would be located, but the MHA-Galvan partnership is. They would be using these two buildings owned by Eric Galloway: 620 State Street, the building where the Hudson Orphan Asylum was originally located, and 61-63 North Seventh Street, the garage where various architectural elements removed from Galloway buildings are said to be stored.


  1. Good for us! Mr. Mayberg is to be commended for performing the exact service the press is tasked with performing: ensuring that government is undertaken in the full light of day. Ms. Young is, besides a poorly-mannered petty dictator, clearly wrong on the law (this, of course, is nothing new for Ms. Young or her constituents in the Town of Taghkanic). It is dismaying to me that many of our "public" servants are uncomfortable doing the people's business in the open. The desire to go into private, "executive" sessions is rampant in both the towns', City's and clearly the County's legislative bodies. I hope Mr. Mayberg continues to object when he feels things are improper.

  2. HUD > State Information > New York > News > HUDNo.2012-03-13
    HUD No. 12-13
    Adam Glantz
    (212) 264-1100

    March 13, 2012

    Programs in Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany, Rochester,
    NYC & Westchester Receive funding

    NEW YORK – U.S. Housing and Urban Development
    (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan
    today awarded New York State over $16 million to support
    49 new local homeless programs across the state.

    The funding provides critically needed emergency shelter,
    transitional housing and permanent support
    for individuals and families and is a significant part of
    the Obama Administration's strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.
    The monies are part of $201 million awarded nationwide to 731 programs.
    (A listing of New York State grantees is below.)

    HUD recently awarded $1.47 billion to renew funding to more
    than 7,100 existing local homeless programs operating across the U.S.
    That funding ensured housing and service programs remained operating in
    The grants announced today will support new local programs never
    before funded by HUD.

    New York State Total




    New York

    City of New York Acting by and through its
    Department of Housing Preservation
    and Development / St. Louis Hall

    S+C •Shelter Plus Care

    $3,938,280 Lantern Group
    New York

    City of New York Acting by and through
    its Department of Housing Preservation
    and Development / Lindenguild Hall

    S+C •Shelter Plus Care

    $2,129,400 Lantern Group
    •Shelter Plus Care (S+C) provides housing and supportive services on a long-term
    basis for homeless persons with disabilities,
    (primarily those with serious mental illness, chronic problems with alcohol and/or drugs,
    and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or related diseases)
    and their families who were living in places not intended for human habitation (e.g., streets)
    or in emergency shelters.


    The Mental Health Association
    of Columbia-Greene Counties / Permanent SHP
    for Homeless Mentally Ill, and Family

    SHP•Supportive Housing Program




    The Mental Health Association of
    Columbia-Greene Counties / Permanent SHP
    for Homeless, Mentally Ill 2

    SHP•Supportive Housing Program



    •Supportive Housing Program (SHP) offers housing and
    supportive services to allow
    homeless persons to live as independently as possible.

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