Dutchess lawmakers put shelter plans on hold
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman Dutchess County Legislature Chair Gregg Pulver has withdrawn a resolution to authorize the purchase a 24,640-square-foot building on Poughkeepsie’s northside intended for use as a homeless shelter that would house up to 100 people. Legislators were prepared to vote to spend $2.1 million for the 26 Oakley Street property, as well as $1 million for the Department of Public Works to design the new facility. The funding would come from the county’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act grant. But with a potential lawsuit by the city looming and widespread public outcry over the project, Pulver decided to delay action on the measure until June. “It was clear people wanted more time to digest some of the material and come up with a better working plan,” Pulver said. The delay will give residents and city officials another 30 days to provide input on the project. “We expect to move forward in June,” he said. Residents and city officials are upset about the planned location of the facility, in the city’s Fifth Ward, an area that, according to Democratic Minority Leader Yvette Valdés Smith “has the highest unemployment rate and the lowest household incomes in the county." Pulver conceded that opponents had some valid concerns and that the most unpopular county services — including the jail and a planned rehab center — are “being dumped on the north side of Poughkeepsie.” But Pulver said the county can mitigate the potential impacts of locating a homeless shelter in that area. He also noted that many unhoused people are already living in temporary housing units on the county jail campus. Read more in the Daily Freeman.