Saratoga Springs Launches Ambitious Campaign To Deal With Homelessness

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.

8 thoughts on “Saratoga Springs Launches Ambitious Campaign To Deal With Homelessness”

  1. As the former head of the EOC, John knows the problems well. He is right about the need for government investment in low income housing. There haven’t been enough efforts to establish safe and affordable permanent housing for low income families in our area since Vanderbilt Terrace was completed. Even worse is the manner in which temporary housing has been provided. Utilizing rooms in old motels that are often situated away from mass transit or stores is not an appropriate way to help families in need of emergency shelter.

    The term homeless is quite broad. Yes, there are people who, for various reasons reach a point where they can not provide adequate shelter for themselves or their families. The solution for them is to make adequate temporary and long-term housing available. This is easier said than done but is an achievable goal.

    There are other people who, for reasons that include personal choice, mental illness, drug and/or alcohol addiction, etc., choose to be homeless. These individuals do not avail themselves of housing opportunities or excellent programs such as Shelters of Saratoga. It is a much more complicated problem. This is America where people have a right to live as they choose. The best approach may be simply to continue doing what the community has been doing. Code Blue, the Salvation Army, the Soup Kitchen at the New England Congregational Presbyterian Church and hopefully a future day-time year long facility are key to keeping people safe, nourished and comfortable. Out-reach efforts of the Shelters of Saratoga, the EOC and County Social Services have been successful in some cases.

    Hopefully the coalition that the Gazette described can come up with some new approaches.

    Chris Mathiesen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good retort, Chris.

      But the rest of the rabble should be asking: WHY are these people OUR problem?
      They have no history in Saratoga; save “Mark;” (obviously).

      Broadway Betty was “family;” remember?
      And old Jack Mitchell was our favorite at the Salvation Army.
      (All honors to Mr. Michael Harmon, a real contributor of good deeds of the day; of course!)

      So, what’s changed?
      We know you know but do THEY know? No?
      (Couldn’t resist; lol.)

      From where, exactly, have all these “needy” people come?
      Can the rabble say CDTA?
      Try it kids: See-Dee-Tea-Ay!
      There ya go.

      Just food for thought.
      Keep up the good work doctor!

      And a world of thanks John,

      -JC 🙂

      Like

  2. How many homeless people in Saratoga springs today?…Where do they come from?? Are they Saratogians who have lost their homes and now are on the streets? Do we want to become the Mecca for the homeless? I don’t!

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    1. Good comment, Johnny.

      “Mecca for the homeless.;” liked that.

      This whole coalition thing reminds me of something a dear old friend said, about people that “wave you on.”
      You know, the ones whom stop when you kinda look like you might be considering crossing the street but haven’t.

      The kind that then beep at you to say; “It’s okay, you can cross now.”
      Totally oblivious to the car swerving around them, now speeding through the crosswalk.

      Those are the same people who; while you’re driving downtown, stop their car in the intersection and wave you on to make a left turn in front of them.
      “Oh, I’m being so courteous, what are they waiting for?” They bemoan.”

      These are the very same people who wave you on, only to have you drive right into oncoming traffic!
      They don’t notice the cars driving around them; to avoid their good deeds.

      Yes, those are the same people that can get you killed; because all they are focusing on is doing their “good deed” for the day. Then, those same people get upset when you don’t cross the street!

      Dear old friend once barked; ” Don’t make eye contact with those idiots! They’ll get you killed!”
      Apparently, people of that ilk are miserable, nasty and normally speaking: just not nice people.
      Doing the one courteous gesture, vindicates them better than old-world-penance.

      “Doing a good turn,” makes them feel vindicated.
      Vindicated for putting loved ones & just about everyone else through sheer h*ll, the rest of the week.
      Funny.

      “Look at me! I’m helping the homeless in Saratoga!”
      Considering it’s 2020, and this issue was already addressed over an over in the past, one needs to ask the question:
      Whom are they kidding?

      Saratoga Springs is one of the riches communities in the USA.
      Maybe this whole homeless thing is just a mask to hide the obvious overt opulence and wealth in this sea of guilt. (Jimmy Martinez would’ve liked that one! lol)

      Keep the comments coming folks!
      Et tu; Henry?

      This is fun.

      -JC 😉

      Like

      1. What’s even worse is the guy your waving on is blind………Well, “Good Deeds” NY will find the solutions even if they’re heard and not seen and then let’s reopen the Hub!

        Like

      2. JC…….When you have the right of way, take THE RIGHT OF WAY.
        Stop the confusion, and the hand waving, you go, no you go, no I want you to go first, no you go. etc.
        Good observation.

        Like

  3. Hey Guys–

    Forgeddahbowditt!

    WSPN 91.1 FM is playing 80’s flashbacks!
    Way cool.

    Show’s on every Wednesday night 8pm-10pm.
    Imagine– “UP” music!

    Go SKIDMORE!

    -JC ;O)

    Like

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