Area homeless shelters prepared for bitter cold temperatures

The Schenectady City Mission at 425 Hamilton St. is pictured on Dec. 31, 2021.

The Schenectady City Mission at 425 Hamilton St. is pictured on Dec. 31, 2021.

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SCHENECTADY – The Schenectady City Mission is prepared to lay down mats should it run out of cots as it expects to see an increased number of people seeking shelter from the frigid temperatures hitting the region Friday and Saturday.

“We expect all of our beds to be full and then we’ll make room for people to sleep in other rooms,” said Michael Saccocio, the Schenectady City Mission executive director and CEO. “ It’s a mat on the floor but it’s safe and it’s warm.”

The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning from Friday through midday Saturday. 

Temperatures are expected to get blistering cold with wind-chill temperatures getting as low as -30 to -35 degrees Friday evening and remaining frigid Saturday morning, but subside throughout the day. Temperatures should be back in the 30s for Sunday. 

“New Yorkers across the state will experience dangerously cold temperatures and life-threatening wind chills this weekend,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul in a press release Thursday.  “Now is the time to prepare: Plan to limit your time outdoors this weekend and know where to take shelter. Take all necessary precautions to ensure your residence is safely heated and use caution if you plan to use an alternative heat source, such as a space heater.”

The City Mission along with the county code blue shelter at Bethesda House and women’s-only shelter at The Salvation Army’s Evangeline Booth Miracle Home will be available to people. 

The City Mission typically has 72 beds for men and around 25 for women and children. 

“Normally we have an overflow on the men’s side and that can take another seven to 10 people,” Saccocio said. “Obviously in extreme conditions we just keep opening up rooms.” 

He said he is planning for an influx of people. 

“We’ve been full all winter,” he said. “We’re anticipating a surge because it hasn’t been super cold this winter, so it’s kind of the first really deep freeze of the winter. So, we’re just going to expect extreme crowds and if it’s not that we’ll be grateful if people are safe in other places but we certainly understand the work we’re called to do and we’ll be prepared.”

Saccocio said the City Mission ambassador van also will be out Friday night.

“That seems to be the most extreme period we’ll be facing so we will be out driving around in that van,” he said. “We’ll have supplies but we’ll also be prepared to transport people if the need is there.”

Saccocio said he had taken the van out Tuesday to let people know about the weather. 

“I was surprised how many people we encountered on the streets that didn’t have gloves and we know with what we’re facing Friday and Saturday it’s minutes not hours,” he said. 

Items like hats and gloves also will be available at the City Mission shelter. 

“We’ve already given away 1,000 coats this winter,” he said. 

He also said many people have been donating throughout the week. 

“The community is very generous,” he said. 

He said the City Missions dining center will also serve as a warming station Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. as part of a collaboration with Schenectady County.

“What that means is people during the day who just need to get in some place,” he said. “We will have our dining center open all day and there will be hot chocolate, coffee, and a bite to eat.”

Other warming locations in Schenectady County include: 

  • Bethesda House, 834 State St., Schenectady; Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Hon. Karen B. Johnson Library, 99 Clinton St., Schenectady; Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. 
  • Phyllis Bornt Branch library and Literacy Center, 984 State St., Schenectady; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Glenville Branch Library, 20 Glenridge Road, Glenville; Friday and Saturday  from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Mont Pleasant Branch Library, 1036 Crane St., Schenectady; Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Niskayuna Branch Library, 2400 Nott Street East, Niskayuna; Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Rotterdam Branch Library, 1100 N. Westcott Road, Rotterdam; Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Scotia Branch Library, 14 Mohawk Ave., Scotia; Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Woodlawn Branch Library, 2 Sanford Street, Schenectady; Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Shelters of Saratoga, which operates the Code Blue Shelter at 4 Adelphi St. in Saratoga Springs for Saratoga County, is also prepared for the cold weather, said Duane Vaughn, the executive director. Vaughn said the shelter will be open 24/7.

“We do feel that a majority of all of the people are homeless in our community that we’re serving, that they are currently already in Code Blue,” Vaughn said. “We don’t think that there’s a significant amount of holdouts out there.” 

He said they will make sure to accommodate everyone they can even if they don’t have a cot for them.

“We still have floor space, we’ll figure that out,” he said. 

Vaughn said if SOS can not serve someone that person is connected with the county Department of Social Services who helps them. 

He also said that the shelter does keep boots and jackets on hand should they notice someone needs one or needs a better one.

Shelters in the area include: 

Schenectady County

City mission- 425 Hamilton St., Schenectady

Code Blue Shelter-Bethesda House-834 State St., Schenectady

Code Blue Shelter (Women only)-The Salvation Army’s Evangeline Booth Miracle Home-168 Lafayette St., Schenectady

 Saratoga County

Code Blue Shelter operated by Shelters of Saratoga-4 Adelphi St., Saratoga Springs

 Montgomery County

Code Blue Shelter-Danielle’s House-218 E. Main St., Amsterdam 

 Fulton County

Code Blue Shelter- Gloversville

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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