GNH Lumber-Outdoor Living-JUNE 2024

Where the ‘unhoused’ went for the holidays


HUDSON—The Columbia County Department of Social Services (DSS) provided temporary housing at the end of December for 103 individuals in 77 families without homes. They were placed at eight separate motels, during the week of December 23-30, 2022, according to DSS Commissioner Robert Gibson and his assistant, Ann Delaney.

The 103 individuals consisted of 78 adults and 25 children. Of the adults, 59% were lodged within seven miles of the DSS’s Hudson office and 56% within Columbia County. The other counties where the DSS found lodging were Greene and Rensselaer. The average distance from the Hudson Office, weighted by the number of individuals, was 13.4 miles.

Every child was in a household with at least one adult. Of the children, 60% were lodged within six miles of the DSS office and 76% in Columbia County.

A plurality of the adults were in the Galvan Civic Motel (GCM) in Greenport, which includes space for helping the residents get permanent housing. The GCM opened in fall 2019 under contract with Columbia County to allocate part of its revenue to “on site support services” for DSS clients. The GCM has units for 24 households, but at the time the numbers reflect, some had just moved out to permanent housing and others had not moved in.

The following table gives the number of adults and the DSS housed in December 23-30 2022, by location.

The DSS gave similar information in April 2018, but comparing the numbers requires caution. People without homes are more likely to seek help during December than April, and in 2018 the GCM had not opened yet. In addition, the 2018 data report numbers of households, while – for privacy reasons — the 2022 data reports numbers of adults.

In April 2018 the DSS was housing 65 individuals in 53 households, only 34% of them within 7 miles of its office and only 53% in Columbia County. A plurality (23%) of the households, including a majority (60%) of the families with children were in the Joslen Motor Lodge in Greenport, about two miles from the DSS office.

The Joslen Motor Lodge remains important for the placement of children. In December 2022 it housed 28% of the children, almost as many as the GCM. Together, the GCM and Joslen lodged 60% of the children.

Mr. Gibson has said DSS’s hopes for the future include warming centers, where people with neither homes nor temporary housing can at least come in for a hot meal and place to sleep.

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