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Update: Shelters will not participate in Williams St center.

After our post on the proposed navigation center planned for the Senior Center building at 5 Williams St, Shelters of Saratoga announced on Friday February 3 that it would not participate in the program. “We want to stay focused on continuing to provide a successful Code Blue and additional services, and immediately went to work to find alternative solutions,” Shelters of Saratoga Executive Director Duane J. Vaughn said in a statement. “We will continue to engage our community as our plans progress, and look forward to making an announcement soon.” The announcement came after opposition from parents at Spa Central Catholic School, whose athletic field shares a border with the Williams St location.

In his State of the City address later in the day, Mayor Ron Kim said he would establish a task force to seek a new location. ““The city has to address its homeless residents,… The homeless are taking refuge during a major portion of the year in one of the city’s garages on Woodlawn (Avenue). Not only is it inhumane, it’s dangerous for residents, visitors and the homeless. It cannot and should not continue in our city. … This is expensive and hard, but Saratoga should not shirk from its responsibility to do this. We cannot give up on this critical need of our city.”


As background, we’re providing an edited version of our original post below:

In October 2022, the Saratoga Springs City Council voted unanimously in favor of leasing the former Senior Center on Williams Street to Shelters of Saratoga. The lease agreement would be conditioned on Shelters of Saratoga using the city-owned property to run a full-time facility that provides a state-mandated Code Blue Shelter, a navigation center, and a full-time low-threshold shelter. That is, a place where professional care managers can help people find the support and services they need.

For too long, the annual Code Blue program and other efforts to serve the homeless have lacked a permanent location to offer help.  Williams Street is the answer to that need. It will be a place where our unhoused neighbors can find not only a warm bed to spend the night, but guidance to set their lives in a new direction.

On Williams Street, the center would be located a few steps from the Saratoga Hospital outpatient clinic on Hamilton Street, as well as being near to CDTA stops and other resources.  As this is a city-owned property, the city will take appropriate responsibility for keeping everyone safe, clients and neighbors alike.

The clergy and leadership of St. Peter’s Church, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and other religious leaders have recognized that this center is an opportunity for our community to live out our stated values of caring for the less fortunate in a coordinated, practical, professionally-managed way.  In fact, St. Peter’s Parish Center (next door to Saratoga Central Catholic School) hosted the very earliest winter of Code Blue services, so that community knows as well as any how important it is to have a permanent location.