Friday, 03 February 2023 14:03

Shelters of Saratoga Quashes Plans for Homeless Shelter at Senior Center Location

Shelters of Saratoga Quashes Plans for Homeless Shelter at Senior Center Location

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Shelters of Saratoga has announced it is canceling plans to site its shelter on Williams Street. 

"We value your trust in us as a homeless services provider in the greater Saratoga area. After hearing the concerns of the community, we've decided not to move forward with a shelter at 5 Williams St.," the organization posted on its social media pages. 

Plans were underway to site a permanent 24/7 year-round shelter at the soon-to-be-vacated Senior Center on Williams Street. The city of Saratoga Springs announced a comprehensive initiative to address the city’s homelessness last October, during which time the City Council unanimously approved a resolution in favor of the project.

In January, some members of the Saratoga Central Catholic School, which partially borders the Williams Street Senior Center, began to express concerns regarding the siting of a shelter in close proximity to the private school. Last Monday,  a meeting was held at the Holiday Inn where the shelter proposal met with backlash from parents and community members.

"The proposed city-led shelter proposal is a serious issue for the City's administration and the Saratoga Springs community as a whole; however, the placement of such a facility near our school is fundamentally flawed,” said Dr. Giovanni Virgiglio Jr., Superintendent Of Schools, Diocese of Albany Catholic Schools, in a statement.  “Asking school parents and administrators — Catholic school parents and administrators at that — to reconcile the proposed location of a low-barrier shelter is not only unfair, it’s unacceptable. When considering the care and concern for both vulnerable populations, the welfare of our children and students must take precedence. Their safety is already our top priority, and we cannot stand for anything, no matter how well-intentioned, that may put their safety in question.”

“Code Blue” shelter and shelter services are provided to the homeless community whenever inclement winter weather temperatures are at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, inclusive of National Weather Service calculations for windchill.

Members of the Saratoga Springs community, motivated to action in the wake of the death of a city woman exposed to a winter’s elements on a December night in 2013, helped initiate a temporary homeless emergency shelter that Christmas Eve at St. Peter’s Parish Center. A series of temporary winter shelters have followed.

Local philanthropic efforts have raised more than $1 million and the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors have additionally expressed both verbal and financial support for the siting of a permanent shelter, but all efforts to site such a location have been rejected by residents or other stakeholders located in those specific communities.

The current lease at a temporary Code Blue shelter located on Adelphi Street runs through April 30 at a cost of $8,000 per month.

According to a statement issued by Shelters of Saratoga, the organization has “identified a more viable location to operate Code Blue… We will continue to engage our community as our plans progress, and look forward to making an announcement soon,” said Duane Vaughn, executive director for Shelters of Saratoga.


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