Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs mayor announces plans to house homeless

FILE - Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim.

FILE - Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs Senior Center, currently located at 5 William St., will be renovated early next year into a code blue shelter and navigation center to help address chronic homelessness in the Spa City. The city’s Senior Center will relocate to a new facility currently under construction at the Saratoga Springs YMCA branch.

Mayor Ron Kim announced that initiative as well as plans to have the 4 Adelphi St. shelter stay open 24/7 and the exploration of funding mechanisms to build transitional housing near the future code blue shelter during a press conference held Monday afternoon. 

“This is the temporary shelter until we get into this building, but we’ve never had it for 24/7 operation,” Kim said. 

The city council is expected to vote on a resolution solidifying the move of Shelters of Saratoga to the William Street location during its meeting on Tuesday night. 

The concept for a new shelter has been years in the making, said Lisa Mitzen, a member of the board of directors for Shelters of Saratoga. 

She said that she and her husband tried to build a code blue shelter four years ago. 

“We are just thrilled to finally see it coming to fruition,” she said. 

More: All NewsEverything Saratoga Springs-Ballston Spa

Mayor Kim said the Mitzen family has agreed to pay for the cost of renovations to the senior center, although how much that will be is unknown at the moment. 

“These individuals that are living without homes in our community deserve a safe and warm place to be,” she said. 

Among the things the current Senior Center will need in order to become a code blue shelter include upgraded bathrooms and a laundry facility, said Duane Vaughn, the executive director of Shelters of Saratoga. 

Vaughn said since taking over as executive director a little over two years ago, he has seen nothing but support for Shelters of Saratoga. 

“The city recognizes this is an issue that needs to be on the front burner,” he said. 

Vaughn said that while it’s too early to tell whether there will be an increase in people needing to use the shelter this year, they did see a 30% increase in 2021 compared to 2020. 

The city will also begin looking for state and federal funding to help construct transitional housing at the William Street location. Vaughn said a developer has come forward with a concept, although it’s too early to put a cost on the project. 

Vaughn said Shelters of Saratoga and many others in the community are working hard to reach out to people and get them into housing. 

Mayor Kim said one of the things that made the plans possible was that Wiliam Dake, Stewart’s Company board chairman, donated $3 million to build a new senior citizens center at 290 West Ave. in conjunction with work being done at the Saratoga YMCA. 

“We can only do this because it takes a community, it takes a village,” Kim said. 

Dake said that he’s happy to see the project finally come to fruition and that it will benefit both Shelters of Saratoga and the seniors. 

“With more people staying active as senior citizens, our Senior Center needed a bigger home, and the YMCA’s expansion offered the opportunity to accomplish this, so I was eager to provide support,” Dake said in a press release about the event. “We now look forward to moving in [during] the first quarter of 2023. Additionally, CODE Blue and SOS have had to spend too much time finding a home and have been coping rather than in a position to solve the problem of homelessness. With the economy looking less prosperous, we may find increased need for these type of resources and services, making our progress here vitally important. I am pleased to be part of this effort to meet the needs of both senior citizens and people who do not have adequate shelter.”  


More: All NewsEverything Saratoga Springs-Ballston Spa


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