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(Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLil' Lambs Christian Daycare Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsLit'l Steps Pre-School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLittle Feet Daycare Center: Delayed 2 HrsLittle Tot Nursery School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLiving Res DCOP (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLong Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastLoudonville Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsMalta Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Toddler Class, No Toddler ClassMargaretville CSD: ClosedMayfield CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastMechanicville City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMekeel Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-SchoolMenands UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMiddleburgh CSD: ClosedMillbrook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsMohawk Trail Regional SD: Delayed 2 HrsMohonasen CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESMontessori School (Schenectady): Delayed, No AM Program, opens at noon, School will open at noon for PM programming.Montgomery County Office for Aging: Delayed 2 Hrs, Advisory Council cancelledMorning Star Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, stay tuned, be safeMother Teresa Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am nursery program, School opens at 9:45amMountain Road School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Before School Care.Mt Moriah Academy: Delayed 2 HrsMyers Education Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delayN. 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Open 9:30Rosa Venerini Early Childhood Cente: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am classes or beforecare School opens at 11amRoxbury CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, RCS is now delayed 2 hrs - roads are in worse shape then expected. Stay off the side roads until treated , drive carefully today January 18Sacred Heart School (Troy): Delayed 2 Hrs, TSL will open at 9:00amSalem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastSaratoga Academy Arts & Science: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga Bridges: Delayed 1 HrSaratoga Central Catholic HS: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga County Senior Meals: ClosedSaratoga Independent School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No Before CareSaratoga Springs City SD: Delayed 2 HrsSaugerties CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchalmont CSD: Closed, Level 1 ClosureSchenectady City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSchenectady Jewish CC Day Care: Delayed, Opening at 8:30 amSchenevus CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchodack CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchoharie CSD: ClosedSchoharie Career and Technical Scho: ClosedSchoharie County ARC: Open, Buses on Snow Routes, Staff report regular time Public bus aides report regular timeSchoharie County Com. Action Prg.: ClosedSchoharie Cty Child Dvp Cobleskill: Closed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Head Start, HS & EHS closedSchoharie Cty HeadStart (Schoharie): Closed, HS & EHS closedSchool's Out, Inc.: Open, No AM ProgramSchuylerville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastScotia-Glenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSharon Springs CSD: ClosedShenendehowa CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM BOCESShooting Stars Nursery & After Sch.: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Will open at 9amSkidmore Early Childhood Center: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolSouth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouth Glens Falls CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouthern Adirondack Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delaySouthern Berkshire Regional SD: ClosedSpa Christian School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-KSpotted Zebra Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, SZ opens at 9:30 Program begins at 10:30 K Program begins at 11:00St Ambrose School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM PgmSt Anne Institute: Delayed 1-1/2 Hrs, Staff Report, No Trans, No school for day service StudentsSt Clement's Regional Catholic Sch: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-SchoolSt Edward's Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Mass and morning activitiesSt George's School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, AEP will begin at 11 amSt Gregory School: ClosedSt Jude the Apostle School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Kateri Tekakwitha School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No BreakfastSt Madeleine Sophie Pre-School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Madeleine Sophie School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Academy (Hoosick Falls): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Church (Crescent): Delayed, No morning MassSt Mary's Institute ES (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's School (Ballston Spa): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Before Care open at 8:00 amSt Mary's School (Waterford): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Mary's-St Alphonsus Rgnl Cath: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Pre-K No AM Camp KerrySt Mary's/St Alphonsus Noah's Ark: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9:45St Paul's Childhood Center: Open, No AM Pre-K, Part-day room closed only. 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After school enrichments are on until further notice.St Thomas the Apostle School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KStepping Stone Pre & DCC (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsStillwater CSD: Delayed 2 HrsStory Place Preschool: Delayed, Open at 10, before care closedStorybook Academy: ClosedSullivan BOCES: Closed, Offices will open at 10 amSunshine Kids Corner: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9AMSusan Odell Taylor School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No coffee hourTLC Christian Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastTaconic Hills CSD: Delayed 2 HrsTech Valley High School: Closed, Staff report at 10 AM.Temple Israel Nursery and Day Care: Open, No early drop off School starts at 9:00The Albany Academies (AA & AAG): ClosedThe Beagle School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-School, All AM programs closedThe Downtown School: Delayed 2 HrsThe Hyde Collection: Delayed 2 HrsThe Kid's Place Preschool: Delayed 1 HrThe King's School: ClosedTiny Tots Early Learning Center: Closed, No AM Pre-School, No AM Preschool PM TBDTri-Village Nursery School: ClosedTroy City SD: Delayed 2 HrsTroy Prep: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Elementary School: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Middle High School: Delayed 2 HrsUMC Daycare Norton Hill: Delayed 1 Hr, No AM Pre-KUnlimited Potential, Inc: Delayed 1 HrVictory Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsVoorheesville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastWSWHE BOCES - Gick Road: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 moth offices 2 hour delayWWAARC—Albany & Queensbury: Delayed 1 Hr, Staff Report Regular TimeWaldorf School (Saratoga Springs): Delayed 2 Hrs, No 2 day PreKWarren Street Academy - The Bridge: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWashington County Nutrition Program: Closed, No Senior Meal Sites ; No Home Delivered MealsWaterford-Halfmoon UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWatervliet City SD: Delayed 2 HrsWebutuck (Northeast) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsWesley Evergreen Adult Day Program: Delayed 2 HrsWest Canada Valley CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESWheelerville UFSD: ClosedWhispering Pines (Cobleskill): ClosedWhispering Pines - Schoharie UPK: ClosedWhispering Pines Pre Sc (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Pre-sch (Delanson): ClosedWhispering Pines Presch - Boulevard: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Preschool at Meco: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWilton Baptist Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KWindham-Ashland-Jewett CSD: ClosedWonderland Nursery School: ClosedWoodland Hill Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, Delayed 2 hours . No early care. No toddler AM session, delayed 2 hours. No early care. No toddler AM sessionWorcester CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWynantskill UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsYMCA (Bethlehem): Open, No Morning ClassesYMCA (East Greenbush): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9am, Before School Care 6:45amYMCA (Greater Glenville): Open, No AM classes before noon.. No babysitting before noon.YMCA (Guilderland): Open, No AM Pre-School, No Morning Classes, No AM branch childcareYMCA (Schenectady): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch Closed for AMYMCA (Troy): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9amYMCA Southern Saratoga: Open, No Morning ClassesYWCA of Schenectady Children's Ctrs: Delayed, YWCA child care @SCCC delay Until 8am. WA site delayed Until 9am

Season brings cold, hard realities of homelessness

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Season brings cold, hard realities of homelessness

The first real cold snap of the season came the week Anthony George became homeless.

The first real cold snap of the season came the week Anthony George became homeless.

It was mid-November in the Capital Region, and daily lows reached a few degrees below the freezing mark, with a wind chill even lower. On the day he had no place to go — Nov. 15 — George had two hospital gowns, a pair of non-slip hospital socks, sneakers and a coat to his name.

George had lived in an apartment on McClellan Street for 13 years until, he said, another resident in the building pushed him down a flight of stairs, breaking his fibula and ankle. When police came to investigate, they noted several code violations in the suspect’s apartment, George said, and the city ordered the building vacated. Instead of allowing tenants to get their belongings, however, George claimed the landlord instead threw everything out.

Where to go

The following area organizations offer shelter and other services for the homeless:

• Bethesda House, 834 State St., Schenectady, 374-7873

• City Mission of Schenectady, 425 Hamilton St., 346-2275

• The Salvation Army of Schenectady’s Evangeline Booth Miracle Home, 168 Lafayette St., 370-0276 or 370-0277

• Homeless and Travelers Aid Society, 138 Central Ave., Albany, 463-2124

• Capital City Rescue Mission, 259 S. Pearl St., Albany, 462-0459

• Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, 176 Sheridan Ave., Albany, 434-8021

• Homeless Action Committee, 393 N. Pearl St., Albany, 426-0554

• Shelters of Saratoga, 14 Walworth St., Saratoga Springs, 581-1097

George had options. He could ask his sister — who lived in cramped Section 8 housing and struggled with a heart condition — if he could stay with her. He could ask a buddy — who had just started a new job and was in the midst of taking care of his 88-year-old mother — if he could stay with him.

“It just didn’t seem fair to them,” said George, 59.

So that left him with two options: sleep on the streets or get help from the Schenectady County Department of Social Services.

He chose the latter and was placed at the Stardust Motor Inn on Curry Road in Rotterdam. Two weeks later, he was transferred to the Imperial Motel on the outskirts of the city’s Hamilton Hill neighborhood. He walked in, saw the mold, a sink falling off the wall in the bathroom and a bug crawling across the bed and walked out. He went to the City Mission of Schenectady next and has been there ever since.

“I was very scared,” he recalled. “It was a week before my birthday and a couple weeks before Thanksgiving and right when it got cold out. I had never been in a situation like this before. I never had to depend on anybody before. I always took care of myself. I had never dealt with DSS. It was all so overwhelming.”

George can’t really imagine what his days would be like if he hadn’t ended up at the City Mission. He hopes to find his own place before his stay ends Jan. 2. On a recent day, he was out in the cold for 45 minutes — it was less than a mile’s walk from the Schenectady County Public Library, but he was on crutches — and the cold was unbearable.

For most of us, this is the season for buttoning up our jackets and rushing in and out of the cold. We lament the snow and the time it takes to clean our cars off some mornings. We endure red noses for a coffee run or the spare errand. We wait for our cars to warm up before we get in.

For some, though, this is the season for survival. They either find a place out of the elements or risk death. The Capital Region, for the most part, knows how to take care of its homeless on these days. But there are some people who still risk exposure, either because they are unable to act in their own self interest, have a fierce independent streak or survived a cold night once before and think they can do it again.

On a cold night in Albany, where several hundred homeless people sleep on the streets year-round, help is just a phone call away.

“People know to go to us,” said Liz Hitt, executive director of the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society in Albany. “They know that if they call us, we will be there.”

The organization, which runs the Capital Region’s only 24/7 hotline for the homeless (866-201-7399), serves as the intake center for the county’s 11 homeless shelters and guarantees it will find a safe place for someone to sleep, as long as they call.

But many times, it’s others who call — police, social services workers, a local hospital or a CDTA driver who spots a homeless person taking refuge in a bus shelter.

On “code blue” days, the organization fields nonstop calls at its three offices in Albany County. The county will declare a code blue when the temperature is 10 degrees or lower, including wind chill. During this time, no one can be denied entrance to a shelter, unless for some reason they’re a threat to public safety.

Hitt used to have her own method for dealing with cold nights on the streets. She was homeless for eight months after serving in the Gulf War. She was working two jobs at the time and going to college at night.

“Thankfully I had a little tan Ford Ranger, and I would sleep in that on most nights,” she said. “But on really cold nights, I would use the money I had earned during the day to get a motel room because it’s just too cold to be outside. And that was one thing that kept me homeless for so long. Every now and then, you have to get out of the weather, and sometimes that means paying for a hotel. It took me a long time to save up a nest egg.”

In Albany, the Capital City Rescue Mission on South Pearl Street has been designated an official code blue emergency shelter. And in Schenectady, the City Mission serves as a de facto code blue shelter — no one declares an official code blue in Schenectady County, but they won’t turn anyone away.

“Those are the nights the mats come out,” said City Mission Executive Director Mike Saccocio, “but sometimes it’s a man in a chair with a blanket. It may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but at least he’s warm.”

The mission is funded solely with contributions from individuals, churches and philanthropic businesses. It provides free clothing — hats, coats, mittens, scarves and more — throughout the winter months to anyone who needs it. Recently, the mission added 11 extra beds to its 65-bed men’s dorm in anticipation of winter. It also has a 37-bed women’s facility.

“Mats are one thing,” said Saccocio, “but we’re blessed to get those 11 additional beds. That’s a big boost for us.”

Three years ago, Perry Jones found more space to shelter the homeless in the winter. He’s executive director of the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany, which has a 60-bed dorm, as many as 30 “overflow” mats, a day room for people to sit out of the cold and a free, on-site medical clinic that will treat frostbite and other episodic and primary care needs of the poor. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, at the corner of State and Lodge streets, had long examined ways it could help the mission and in 2011 offered to serve as an auxiliary shelter.

“They have this nice gym that they don’t really use,” said Jones. “For a long time, they weren’t sure. They had to get used to the idea that they would have homeless people sleeping in their church. Finally, they said, ‘it felt like this is what the Lord has wanted us to do all along with this gym.’ ”

On most nights, the Rescue Mission will house about 180 homeless people. On code blue nights, that number can swell to 220.

Still, there are those who don’t come in from the cold. Jones recalled one man who consistently turned down his offers of a stay at the shelter on cold nights.

“He would say, ‘I’ve got a nice pair of gloves, I’ll be OK,’ ” Jones recalled, “but he had a plan. He would get under a bridge or viaduct, set up his cardboard, a lot of it, and make sure he had lots of layers of clothing and a sleeping bag. He had been doing it a long time. I would say to him, ‘Why don’t you just relax for a night and come in anyway?’ But he wouldn’t.”

Other times, it’s addiction that keeps people away from shelter on cold nights. Some shelters will turn a homeless person away if they smell of alcohol. Dry shelters are less common these days, though, said the Rev. Phil Grigsby, executive director of the Schenectady Inner City Ministry.

“The power of addiction is such that a number of people would not come in from the cold if it meant they had to be sober,” he said. “Folks had to make a decision, stop drinking and come in or possibly freeze to death. Let me tell you, people with addiction will do all sorts of things contrary to their self-interest, including freezing to death. Now there are wet shelters, and as long as they’re not bullies or acting out, they can come in.”

A significant portion of the homeless population also has untreated mental illnesses that may prevent them from coming in out of the cold. Grigsby recalled one man he worked with several years ago whose mental illness prevented him from making decisions in his own self-interest.

“He lived in a box behind Trustco Bank downtown,” he said. “This guy would come to Bethesda House periodically, and then after a while, we noticed he was no longer coming. People found him dead in his box. Turns out he had over $100,000 in the bank. He was somebody at General Electric who had a mental breakdown and wound up living in a box. He was a prisoner in his own mind.”

Those who choose to rough it will likely have better luck in Schenectady and Albany: Each city has a large stock of abandoned, vacant buildings. Saratoga Springs doesn’t have this problem but does have a homeless problem.

“We have no true overnight emergency shelter,” said Peter Whitten, executive director of Shelters of Saratoga, a dry, drug-free shelter with 34 beds. “I think there is a need. We know that there are a number of people, we don’t know the exact number, but there are people who don’t have homes here. They camp out in wooded areas. They manage to find some kind of material that they can make into tents or they crawl into places where they can find cover on cold nights.”

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