Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Turn Your Radios On

Tomorrow morning on his radio show @Issue, Victor Mendolia will be discussing the proposal for providing emergency and transitional housing for the homeless of Columbia County in Hudson with Hudson supervisors Sarah Sterling (First Ward) and Ellen Thurston (Third Ward) and Common Council president Don Moore. The show begins at 10 a.m. on WGXC--90.7 FM or online at wgxc.org.


  1. A well moderated discussion with three thoughtful people who want to do the right thing by their community including people who are homeless. Two things thwart good planning: the lack of public discussion on the subject and the inexplicable course changes of Galvan in reference to their plans for the homeless in Columbia County. That is a volatile mix which fosters confusion and misinformation. A couple of things I want to mention: (1) Speaking of misinformation -- Galvan can't fill empty single shelter beds with families. NYS regulations do not allow for plopping families into single shelters. Whomever at Galvan said such a thing did not know what he was talking about; (2) if the lack of public comment was known to state agencies who will have a financial stake in any future initiative the project could be stopped in its tracks. It is fine for local and County officials to sign on to a concept paper that goes to HHAP but if that entity found out down the road that the public can't ask questions at meetings I believe they would have a hard time financing such a project. So would OMH and OASAS and regional HUD. They don't like their regional people to be called into settle public/private disputes; (3) Galvan made a mess of their so called "grantmaking" recently. They should put their money in a special fund at the United Way of Columbia/Greene and stay out of picking and choosing grantees for what is perceived as political purposes; (4) Keep hammering on prevention. Rent assistance is a great help, jobs are better. But families on the brink of homelessness are often seen in Family Court. Any prevention work being done there? Anybody talking to the Drug Court Judge about what he is seeing? Those Judges understand the intersection of addiction and criminal behavior and treatment. And they often are aware of family conflicts that could result in a family being tipped into homelessness. (4) Don't ignore SRO type apartments. If prospective tenants referred by DSS are screened for housing stability and the apartments are well managed these can blend well into the community. (5) One of the panel mentioned that there were hundreds more homeless in Columbia County than those that show up on the census. This is probably true but these folks avoid the shelter system -- or most likely the foster care system -- because they probably still have ties to family and community. Many grandmothers are raising their grandchildren.

  2. Kate, Your continued input is immeasurably appreciated by this community. Thank you.