Police have identified the homeless woman who died in the cold outside of the Saratoga Springs Senior Center on Thursday, but are still awaiting the results of her autopsy.
Staff at the Williams Street facility found Nancy Pitts, 54, lying in a back porch area around 8:30 a.m. Medical assistance was requested, but it was determined she had died at some point overnight.
“Ms. Pitts was known to the responding officers as having no permanent address,” Police Chief Greg Veitch said Monday. “She would frequently spend the night at various locations in the downtown area of Saratoga Springs.”
An official cause of death will not be determined until autopsy and toxicology results are available. No foul play is suspected.
Pitts’ death occurred as a deep freeze was descending upon the region. The temperature was only 12 degrees by mid-morning Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Albany.
Veitch said Pitts’ death draws attention to the issue of homelessness in Saratoga Springs and how police are frequently relied on to contend with the city’s homeless population. He said officers often make referrals to other organizations that provide services or sometimes make arrests when appropriate.
“Police officers do not however, have the legal authority to require an individual to receive any services offered through government programs, non-profit organizations, or private entities,” he said in a statement. “The challenge of dealing with the homeless population in any locality is a community issue and one that the local police department has only a small part in addressing.”