Seeking shelter from the elements, Capital City Rescue Mission helps over 200 people

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After Friday’s snowfall and with cold temperatures expected to continue over the weekend, shelters around Albany are opening their doors to help keep those with no place to go warm.

“So we had a little over 200 [people] last night. We see our numbers going up to seasonal averages. So it is in connection with the temperatures,” says David Poach, Chief of Staff of Capital City Rescue Mission, “especially if there is any precipitation. Even though there were negligible snowfall amounts, it was very damp and biting and so folks really wanted to come in out of the cold.”

Capital City Rescue Mission, located on South Pearl Street, is just one of several Code Blue Shelters in Albany. When someone comes into the shelter, they are offered a place to stay with free meals and even a bed or mat to sleep on. Typically, Poach says, shelter stays are based on 30 days in, 30 days out for those seeking refuse. But during the winter months, the rules are more flexible.

“During Code Blue, people can stay basically through the whole winter. We don’t want them to go out because sometimes it’s hard to get up to social services and get back,” Poach explains.

Despite shelters welcoming dozens into their warmth, there are many experiencing homelessness who still do not trust them. “That’s the crux of the whole situation. We want people to know this is a warm, safe place. Right? And to try and get people to come in out of the cold,” Poach says, “some people say, ‘I did it last year [staying out in the cold].’ Okay? But you are a year older and conditions change. Your body changes. Don’t base it on last year. Come in. Nobody should freeze in America.”

Poach also says during Code Blue, local emergency services are alerted to look out for those sleeping in the cold.

Code Blue access contact numbers and shelters

Albany County

  • Homeless and Travelers Aid Society Homeless Hotline- 518-463-2124
  • Capital Area Council of Churches Emergency Overflow Shelter 181 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203
  • Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless Safe Haven Shelter 26 S Swan Street, Albany, NY 12210
  • Capital City Rescue Mission 259 S Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12202

Columbia/Greene County

  • Columbia County Department of Social Services after hours- 518-828-3344
  • Green County Department of Social Services after hours- 518-622-3344

Rensselaer County

  • Department of Social Services after hours- 518-283-2000
  • Joseph’s House 74 Ferry Street, Troy, NY 12180

Saratoga County

  • Shelters of Saratoga- 518-812-6886
  • Sheriff’s Office- 518-885-6761
  • Code Blue Saratoga- 4 Adelphi Street in Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Schenectady County

  • Department of Social Services after hours- 518-382-0383
  • Bethesda House of Schenectady 834 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12307
  • City Mission of Schenectady 425 Hamilton Street, Schenectady, NY 12305

Warren County

  • Sheriff’s Office after hours- 518-743-2500
  • Open Door 47 Lawrence Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801

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