A homelessness division between city and county
Feb 09, 2011 9:08 am
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Sunset Motel, Greenport, seen before it was utilized for housing the county's homeless population. "][/caption]The disparity between the actual plight of the poor and the procedural difficulties of caring for those in need, while also maintaining local housing standards, reared its troublesome head at a Hudson public hearing earlier this week on February 6, when a new local law which would strengthen the language of the definition of “transitional service facility” and “transitional service facility resident” in the city code was discussed and Hudson Mayor Rick Scalera used the occasion to spit some nails at the county Department of Social Services. Lindsay Suchow and Kate Mostaccio of the Register-Star report how things came to a head when the owner of a residence denied use as an official "transitional home" due to zoning constraints housed three homeless men, moved in from county-subsidized rooms at the Sunset Motel on Route 9 in Greenport. Scalera raised issue with the fact that DSS was giving housing money to clients without checking where they were moving to, while County Department of Social Services Commissioner Paul Mossman explained the difference between aid for those considered homeless, who are given temporary emergency housing, usually in motels or specified housing, and cash assistance grants that are given to individuals on public assistance programs, such as the county’s Safety Net where living expenses are at the recipient's discretion, and often not considerable given that the grants are only $350 to $360 a month. The emphasis, Mossman added, is to get people to share apartments when possible, which seems to have been the case in the situation Scalera was referring to at the recent hearing. Things rose to the present situation, the Mayor added, when numerous nopise complaints with the police led to eviction notices for the three men in question, at least according to what he heard. He called the whole kit and kaboodle "evidence of the dysfunctional relationship between the city and the county when it comes to housing the homeless," at least according to the two reporters. “This was an arrogant, in-your-face move by the county." Fortunately, no one seems to have used the term NIMBY anywhere in the hot talk on a chilly evening.