GREENPORT–The Galvan Civic Motel on Route 9 near the Livingston line, opened last month under contract with Columbia County to provide emergency housing for people referred to it by the County Department of Social Services.
The Department of Social Services (DSS) uses motels to lodge people in need of housing. But it has had to place about two-thirds of these households in motels located over 10 miles from the DSS office in Hudson, as per DSS data April 2018, due to lack of rooms that are closer. The number of rooms the DSS has rented for emergency housing has fluctuated between 35 and 75 monthly.
The Galvan Civic Motel (GCM) is less than six miles from the DSS office. And with 25 rooms, DSS Commissioner Bob Gibson said last year, the GCM will not solve the county’s homelessness problem, but it will be a big help.
According to the contract between the County and Galvan Civic Housing, LLC, as of May last year, social services department will pay the GCM $85 a night per family during the first year, but Galvan will allocate 30% of its gross revenue from this arrangement for “on site support services” for DSS clients, and provide space for service providers at the motel.
The contract also requires the GCM staff to clean rooms and change towels and linens regularly and frequently.
At a housing forum early in September, people who experience periods without a home spoke of bedbugs at a motel that accepts many DSS clients needing homes. At the same forum, by contrast, Dan Kent, vice president of initiatives for the Galvan Foundation, indicated that GCM’s just-opened rooms were impressive.
In the contract, the DSS promises to offer “all eligible homeless persons” (excluding registered sex offenders and “other violent felons”) temporary lodging at the GCM before “any other facility.”
In return, Galvan Civic Housing promised to accept all persons referred to it by the DSS “if there is a vacant room,” and if there is no evidence that a person’s “needs cannot be safely and adequately met” at the GCM.
About three weeks after it opened, the GCM was “almost at capacity,” Mr. Gibson said through his assistant, Ann Delaney, September 26. “We have no reason not to be optimistic that this will be a much better way to serve this vulnerable population,” Ms. Delaney said.
Meanwhile, according to Mr. Gibson’s message, the Columbia Greene Mental Health Association was establishing a presence at the GCM in order to help DSS clients.
Mr. Kent said in a release issued October 1: “We are pleased to announce the opening of Galvan Civic Motel, now offering high-quality motel rooms and support services to homeless individuals and families in Columbia County.”