Homeless numbers up; substandard housing an issue in Columbia County
Jeanette Wolfberg is reporting in The Columbia Paper the number of homeless people listed with the Columbia County Department of Social Services rose from 55 in August to 73 in September., the highest this year since January. The number of homeless families increased from 9 in August to 13 in September. In addition to the increase in homelessness, substandard housing is a significant problem countywide as well, according to Wolfberg's account of the September meeting of the county Board of Supervisors Human Services Committee. Stories of tenants living without running water, in bug-infested apartments and in fear of physical harm were discussed. “Two days ago we had to remove a 19-month-old from a home that was so deplorable that our workers had to go home and shower immediately,” reported Social Services Commissioner Kary Jablonka. “Even when we’re housing families in hotels, they’re not up to standard,” said Department of Social Services attorney Robert Gibson. Hudson Fifth Ward Supervisor Richard Scalera laid much of the blame on the city of Hudson. Scalera said the city “hasn’t had the guts” to pass a “rental inspection law." A law of that kind could require inspection of every rental unit during the time it is vacated between tenants. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.