Reaction generally positive to Galvan Foundation's motel plan
Jeanette Wolfberg is reporting for The Columbia Paper on the response from social service providers and educators to the Galvan Foundation's offer of rooms at the former Sunset Motel as emergency housing for the homeless of Columbia County. Under a pending proposal, the county would pay the cost of a room at the newly re-christened Galvan Civic Motel, located on the border of Livingston and Greenport. The foundation would then use a portion of the revenue for on-site social services. Once full renovated, the motel will have sufficient space to house approximately 25 percent of the people listed with the Columbia County Department of Social Services as homeless. Concerns were raised about the motel's close proximity to a private school, but county Social Services Commissioner Robert Gibson said his agency does not plan to assign people recently released from prison to the motel. “It’s a huge mistake to have a public image that equates homelessness with” criminals, said Laurie Scott, executive director of Re-Entry Columbia. Most of the people who currently have no permanent home do not have criminal records and have not been to prison, but many people while in prison lose their outside-world home, Scott said. Scott and Tina Sharpe, executive director of Columbia Opportunities and co-chair and founding member of the Columbia-Greene Housing Coalition both described homelessness in Columbia County to be at crisis level. Sharpe said the motel is an innovative approach. She said it addresses one of the community’s “missing links… effective and responsive emergency shelter.” Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.