SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - A coalition of church members, community leaders and police officials are working to open a safe haven for prostitutes in Schenectady.
"Patty's Place" will be a drop-in center for sex workers in need of hot meals, shower facilities, and access to resources to help with drug addiction, domestic abuse, and other social issues.
The concept of "Patty's Place" came about after neighbors began complaining about the large number of prostitutes working the Hamilton Hill area, and surrounding neighborhoods.
Associate Minister at First Reformed Church in Schenectady, Rev. Stacey Midge, says she wants to help women who turn to a life of prostitution to feed drug addictions and escape horrible life situations.
"We started talking about what we can do as a community to address the issue of prostitution. These are daughters, mothers, and granddaughters. Most of them are addicted to drugs, and some are as young as 11-years-old," Rev. Midge said. "Jesus was known to surround himself with what some would call the lower tiers of society, and try to help them. We want to do the same."
"Patty's Place" is still in the concept phase, and no building has been designated for the project just yet. It will most likely be housed in the Hamilton Hill area of Schenectady, an area hard hit by prostitution.
Schenectady Police Department Lieutenant Mark McCracken says prostitution spans all walks of life, and is a community-wide problem the police department is working hard to address.
"We've put more patrol cars in place in areas we know see a lot of prostitution," McCracken says. "This type of crime knows no race, age, or background. It's a problem not just for the prostitutes, but for the neighborhoods and businesses in the areas where they work."
Reverend Midge says Patty's Place has no grants and will be started through donations. The facility will need donated blankets, toiletries, feminine products, condoms, sweat suits, towels, and other items, as well as monetary donations." She hopes "Patty's Place" will be open by the end of the year.
For more information on "Patty's Place" or other resources to combat prostitution in Schenectady, call Reverend Stacey Midge at 518-377-2201.
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