Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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Montgomery County's first permanent homeless shelter

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Albany/HV: Montgomery County's first permanent homeless shelter
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It's an issue for the homeless all over the world. As the weather gets cooler, living on the streets gets harder. But as YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, that won't be a worry for those in Montgomery County ever again.

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. -- "If you're homeless and have no place to go, this is a good place to have. The county needs it. Amsterdam needs it," said shelter coordinator Omar Serrano.

It's an issue county officials don't have much experience with, but over the past couple of years, homelessness rates have sky rocketed.

"Our employment rate is 10.1 percent, which is I think the highest in the entire state, and it's remained high for the past couple of years, and that adds to it," said Michael McMahon from the Department of Social Services.

Interfaith Partnership for the homeless opened the doors to this Amsterdam building, as the county’s first permanent shelter.

Serrano said, "The first unit will serve as the shelter and the top two units will serve as low income housing."

"In the past, we were putting them in hotels, which met the immediate need of shelter, but it didn't go any further than that," said McMahon.

But the shelter is the base for a long term solution. Case managers will be on site to help clients solve their problems.

"The plan is for us to be the foundation, we put a roof over your head, then we show you how to structure your life the right way," said Serrano.

But in order to help the community, they need help from you. That's why they're asking for donations and volunteers to keep the shelter fueled.

"Prepare meals. We also need coats donated for the winter, linens for the beds and soap, shampoo, things in that nature."

If you'd like to volunteer or donate to the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless Montgomery County, you can contact Omar Serrano at (518) 627-4649, or omars@interfaithpartnership.com.

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