GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With freezing weather sweeping across the Capital Region, the City of Gloversville is opening their code blue shelter for the first time of the season Monday evening. The site, at the city’s former VFW, will remain open from now through April.
With a bit of early season snow on the ground outside the site Monday morning, final preparations were underway inside, as the city readied the new and renovated emergency shelter for its first night.
“Ironically, this is the first big freeze here tonight,” said Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis.
The city purchased the former VFW in the spring and has been working to transform the space. In January, the site was leased after the community’s only code blue shelter was closed because of zoning restrictions.
“The city was actually doing it on a wing and a prayer last winter,” DeSantis explained, crediting volunteers for their work in helping get the community’s most vulnerable through the season.
Under city ownership, the site is operated by the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, “This is something that we’ve never really had in Fulton County ongoing,” said Jennifer Salamo, Director of Programming for IPH.
When those in need come to the shelter, they’ll have a warm place to stay, meals and guidance to find a long-term solution to housing insecurity.
“That’s one of the goals of IPH, is to help our individuals with self-sufficiency and sustainability. This facility is very important because we can see the individuals and have them come in and continue to work with them for those resources,” said Salamo.
DeSantis says it’s difficult to pinpoint the number of homeless within the community, “Estimates are anywhere from 60 or 70 people that are homeless, to 20 or 30 people that are homeless. Last year, I think the total number of people that actually used the code blue was less than 20.”
With a stable and professionally staffed emergency shelter this winter, city and IPH officials believe that number could grow this winter.