With winter around the corner, temperatures will soon start dropping. Shelters of Saratoga is proactively preparing; they’re prepping a new location to help the homeless population. NEWS10 toured the new facility that officials say will allow them to help even more homeless people this year.
Executive Director, Duane Vaughn, said the new facility will be able to house roughly 25% more people in need. “We had a capacity of 61 and we were full most days. So, we knew we had to find a place that we could expand a little bit and make sure that we can help everybody that needs it.”
Fortunately, they found just that. 120 South Broadway in Saratoga Springs is the location of the new shelter, with an upgraded 75 beds per night capacity. This new location comes along with added healthy safety measures. We’re told mealtimes will be staggered to help lower the risk of COVID-19 and flu.
“The way we’re going to do our meal planning this year is we may say rooms one through five and they can go over, and we can reduce the amount of large congregate.” Vaughn says they also plan to stay open more this year, “when the temperature is 35° and it’s raining it’s technically not a code blue night. Well, we don’t think that’s appropriate to put people out. So, we’re going to do our best to stay open during those times.”
Not only will physical health be benefited from the new location, Hannah Hurley, an appointee with the Mayor’s Homelessness Task Force says that this new location will also greatly improve mental health and privacy for those who are afflicted with homelessness.
“And this gives these people the opportunity to have those barriers to be taken care of done with so they can start to think about things like permanent housing and what the future looks like,” said Hurley.
In order to better prepare, Vaughn relies heavily on local TV weather forecasts, “We’re watching that 10-day forecast really closely so hopefully our meteorologists are giving us good Clues and what’s going to happen, so we’re prepared as soon as that day gets close.”
Vaughn went on to say that with temperatures right now being well above freezing, they are taking this time to prepare for inevitable freezing temperatures.