homeless

Lucas Willard / WAMC

If you head into downtown Schenectady to see a show, chances are you’ll see the guys in red jackets helping visitors across the street or giving directions.

  Some Homeless advocates are dismayed by what they say is Governor Cuomo’s failure at the end of the legislative session to follow through with promises to fund five years worth of new supportive housing and other services for the homeless. Their complaints come as the State Comptroller issues a scathing report on the state of homeless shelters across New York. 

Code Blue Saratoga
Paulina Phelps / WAMC

For the last two winters, the Salvation Army has hosted Saratoga Springs’ Code Blue program at its building on Woodlawn Avenue, on the city’s west side.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The third-floor music hall at Saratoga Springs City Hall was filled for the Public Safety forum on the issue of aggressive panhandling. Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen assembled a panel consisting of the city’s police and fire departments and advocates for the disadvantaged.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker
WAMC

The number of homeless families living in hotels and motels at state expense is down sharply in Massachusetts.  Gov. Charlie Baker is making good on a pledge to end the practice.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

In the last few weeks, the issues of vagrancy and aggressive panhandling have been on the lips of many in the Spa City. After a now infamous picture of a man appearing to defecate in front a local building circulated online, a petition was started urging city leaders to act.

WAMC

A coalition of organizations that provide services to the homeless in Massachusetts is asking the state legislature to increase funding for emergency shelters. Advocates also point to a funding disparity that they say shortchanges homeless shelters in western Massachusetts.

Friends of the Homeless in Springfield, the largest shelter facility for individuals outside Boston, sees over 1,000 men and women come through its doors each year, or about 150 per night, looking for a meal and a bed to sleep in.

  For decades, conversations about poverty have focused on jobs, public assistance, parenting, and mass incarceration. After years of intense fieldwork and study, Harvard sociologist and 2015 MacArthur “Genius” grant winner Matthew Desmond has come to believe that something fundamental is missing from that picture: how deeply housing is implicated in the creation of poverty.

Desmond says, “Not everyone living in a distressed neighborhood is associated with gang members, parole officers, employers, social workers, or pastors, but nearly all of them have a landlord.” The result of his research is the new book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

WAMC

Progress is being made in reducing the number of homeless families and individuals living in emergency shelters, motels and on the streets in western Massachusetts, according to a report issued today.

The report from the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness highlighted a 34 percent drop in overall family homelessness – including a sharp reduction in the number of families living in motels from 284 to 49 – and a 27 percent decline in homeless veterans over the last year.

Franco Folini/Flickr

At the turn of the year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order mandating cities statewide to give homeless people shelter when temperatures hit 32 degrees.

nevadahealthcenters.org

Cuomo says the homeless must be taken to shelter in freezing weather.

On Sunday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order to protect homeless individuals across the state from inclement winter weather.

In 2009, President Obama and then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki announced a lofty goal of zero percent homelessness among veterans by 2015. They haven’t reached that goal, but they have made notable gains, decreasing homelessness by more than 30 percent in the past five years.

NPR veterans correspondent Quil Lawrence speaks with Here & Now’s Eric Westervelt about how the government has been able to curb homelessness among veterans, but also where there is still work left to be done.

Mary Giordano
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Mary Giordano usually shuns the limelight. The music teacher, who became the executive director of Family Promise of the Capital Region, was driven by a desire to help others .

Lucas Willard / WAMC

With temperatures starting to dip, the Saratoga Springs' Code Blue program is open for the season and a new day-time drop-in center hopes to provide the homeless population with a hot meal and access to services.

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A Homelessness Awareness Night will be held in Saratoga Springs Thursday evening.

  Dan-el Padilla Peralta is one of millions of young undocumented men and women brought to the country as children. He is also a gifted scholar who made his way to some of the world’s most elite schools.

Peralta’s new book is: Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey From A Homeless Shelter To The Ivy League evocatively recounts Peralta’s journey from the New York City shelter system to the Ivy League.


The housing market continues to stabilize nationwide and in the most populous county in western Massachusetts real estate sales showed modest gains over the last 12 months, according to a report released today.

The total amount of money spent on real estate in Hampden County in the last 12 months was more than $1.32 billion as average home sale prices rose in the cities of Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and Westfield, according to the fiscal year 2015 report from Register of Deeds Donald Ashe.

" One you get to $1 billion that is a pretty good healthy market," said Ashe.

WAMC

Options are being reviewed for relocating a regional substance abuse treatment center for western Massachusetts that must move to make way for construction of the MGM Springfield casino.

Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe is looking at three locations for the Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center ,which must move soon from its longtime home in a leased building that is in the footprint of the $800 million casino project in downtown Springfield.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker
WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is proposing a fund in his state budget plan to prevent low-income families from becoming homeless.   Baker is fulfilling a campaign promise to tackle the problem that confounded his predecessor.

The “End Family Homelessness Reserve Fund” will pay for counselors and a host of services to families to keep them housed and out of the state’s emergency shelter system.  Baker described it as a preventive approach that will keep families in communities where they have a support system and where their children attend school.

WAMC

The mayor of Springfield is calling on the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to end a practice by the past administration of placing homeless families in congregate housing.

An angry Mayor Domenic Sarno said de-facto group homes for homeless families have been created in apartment buildings concentrated in a handful of city neighborhoods since last fall with city inspectors finding in some cases 3-4 families living in a single apartment.

" This is absolute BS," said Sarno at a city hall news conference.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Heading into its second winter, the Code Blue program for homeless people in Saratoga Springs will be returning this month with a new community partner and location.

nevadahealthcenters.org

As the cold weather begins to move in, an Albany initiative is taking steps to ensure that homeless people have a warm place to stay this winter. 

The Homeless Code Blue Program begins November 15th: officials are seeking public support. Liz Hitt is Executive Director of the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society:   "Anytime the temperature drops to ten degrees or less, including the wind chill, we make sure that anyone living on the street has a safe and warm place to stay for the night."

      

  National Homelessness Awareness Month is held in November, the month of Thanksgiving. It is a time to think about what we are thankful for, and a time to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness.

The St. Paul’s Center in Rensselaer is a shelter for women and their children who have no place to call home. The bad news is the shelter continues to be full all the time with moms and their kids who - only stay until they can find appropriate housing for them.

  Hudson River Housing Executive Director Ed Murphy joins us in the studio for a discussion of housing issues in the region.

WAMC

Anti-poverty activists gathered in Springfield, Massachusetts today at the site where a tent city for the homeless sprang up 10 years ago.

About 50 people rallied on the lawn in front of St. Michael’s Cathedral -- the mother church of the Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese – in the city center where the homeless encampment dubbed “Sanctuary City” started on May 13, 2004.

WAMC

A statewide coalition of 30 organizations that assist homeless individuals in Massachusetts is lobbying the state legislature for an increase in funding.  State funding for their programs has remained stagnant for more than a decade.    WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with William Miller, executive director of  Friends of the Homeless in Springfield.

WAMC

A pilot program in western Massachusetts to place homeless people in permanent jobs so that they can eventually leave shelters has far exceeded its first- year goal. The state’s top housing official announced funding will be available to attempt to replicate the program’s success in other regions of the state.

wikipedia commons

Community leaders in Saratoga Springs are seeking to establish a Code Blue program, just days after a woman succumbed to the elements outside the Saratoga Senior Center on a freezing night.

During the recent cold snap, 54-year-old Nancy Pitts died outside the Saratoga Senior Center. Now officials are working to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Mayor-elect Joanne Yepsen is leading the charge to establish a Code Blue program in Saratoga Springs. During a Code Blue alert, emergency shelters open their doors to anyone when the temperature dips below 10 degrees.

WAMC

There has been a big drop in the number of homeless families staying in motels at taxpayer expense in Massachusetts.  The state’s top housing official is confident a goal can be met to completely end the controversial practice.

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