GREENPORT — Columbia County could use its agreement with the Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties to provide a counselor to help homeless people who will stay at the unfinished Galvan Motel connect with public services, officials said.
The county Board of Supervisors approved a contract with the Galvan Foundation on May 9 to house homeless people at the site of the former Sunset Motel, 3550 Route 9, Greenport. The local, private housing foundation has been building the facility the property was purchased in March.
The highly anticipated project has been delayed until December, Hudson 1st Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling said Thursday.
Columbia County Department of Social Services Commissioner Robert Gibson requested to change the county’s agreement with the Mental Health Association during Wednesday’s Health and Human Services Committee meeting to provide a case manager at the motel to help the homeless people who will temporarily live there.
“A case manager makes sure all the services these people need are taking place,” according to a statement from the commissioner’s office. “The case manager will help people find jobs, permanent housing and will follow up on any referrals to other services, such as social services or medical appointments.”
In May, Galvan anticipated reopening the 25-room motel in June, according to the final contract with the county, but the facility remains under construction.
Supervisors were updated at Wednesday’s meeting that the project has been delayed until the end of December, Sterling said.
“Everybody is ready and waiting for the motel to be completed,” Sterling said. “They said it has seen complications with the septic.”
An on-site case manager will be just another added service provided at the motel, Sterling said.
“Catholic Charities and other services already agreed to provide services at the motel,” she said. “This will just add the Mental Health Association to that list of services.”
Galvan will take 30 percent of its revenue for housing homeless people, who will receive priority for rooms at the motel, and use that money to provide security, including cameras, a manager and supportive services in a 890-square-foot space in the motel, according to the foundation’s contract with the county.
In the first year, the county will pay Galvan Civic Motel LLC — the branch of the foundation building the motel — $85 per room, per night, no matter how many people occupy a room, according to the final contract. Each subsequent year, the price will increase by 3 percent: $87.55 per room during the second year, $90.17 during the third and so on.
Sterling is anxious to see the motel open as winter approaches, when homeless numbers increase and the need for shelter is greater, she said.
The county houses homeless people at Joslen Motel, 320 Joslen Blvd., Hudson; and Yorkshire Motel, 490 Route 23, Claverack; for about $65 to $85 a night, per person.
“We also housed homeless people in the Bel Air Motel in Massachusetts, but that was recently condemned,” Sterling said. “A lot of these motels are awful. The Galvan Motel will be the only one that provides on-site services. The sooner we can get it open, the better.”