On Thursday, January 9, a coalition was formed to attempt to address the homelessness issues in Saratoga Springs. Called the Saratoga Collaborative To End Homelessness, it will be facilitated by Erin Healy who is a native of Saratoga Springs and works out of Brooklyn as a consultant focusing on homeless issues.
The coalition brings together players from government and the private sector. It will involve Shelters of Saratoga along with the police, hospitals, mental health workers, and representatives of our city and our county government.
In late February there will be a two day event to develop plans followed by what they call a sprint to experiment with solutions.
An excellent story from the Gazette Newspaper notes:
The coalition will consist of two key teams: a leadership team of government officials and agency leaders tasked with “clearing the path” of financial, regulatory and other hurdles; and a design team of mental health, substance abuse and homelessness workers charged with planning and implementing the group’s on-the-ground strategies.
As someone who enthusiastically supports this effort and who was the executive director of the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council for sixteen years, I have to express some reservations about how much one community can do to solve this problem. The roots of homelessness lie in the lack of affordable housing and without a massive federal effort such as we saw in the years when Jefferson Terrace and Stonequist Apartments were built, addressing this fundamental issue on a local level will be profoundly limited. Still I wish this new group success.
I will be especially interested in seeing what role the county plays in this.