*Editor’s note: This story corrects an earlier version The date of the public meeting is March 15.
GREENPORT — Construction on the Galvan Motel on Route 9 is expected to be completed this spring, but the Galvan Foundation is waiting on a contract with the county to be able to provide temporary housing for clients of the county’s Department of Social Services.
A new sign that reads “Galvan Foundation, Galvan Motel” was visible in front of the building at 3550 Route 9 on Wednesday.
Construction on the former Sunset Motel began in September and is expected to be completed over the next two months, according to an emailed statement from the foundation Monday.
The project is intended to address Columbia County’s emergency housing needs and the Galvan Foundation is footing the bill for the 25-room motel, which carries a price tag of $1.5 million, according to the foundation. Guests not affiliated with Columbia County Department of Social Services can also reserve rooms at the motel.
Galvan is waiting on a signed contract with the Columbia County Board of Supervisors to provide temporary shelter for county Department of Social Services referrals. Guests referred by the Department of Social Services will be able to be book available rooms when the foundation provides the department with the motel’s certificate of occupancy, according to the foundation.
The county Department of Social Services books motel rooms throughout the county for people in need of emergency and temporary housing, but the cost of other motel rooms in the area is too high and do not include support services or security, according to the foundation.
Galvan will prioritize room reservations for clients from the county Department of Social Services as part of its proposed referral agreement, according to the foundation. Remaining rooms will be available to be booked by the public at a rate of $85 per night.
Columbia County’s Health and Human Services Committee tabled a resolution at its Jan. 16 meeting that would have authorized Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell to enter into an agreement on behalf of the county Department of Social Services with Galvan Civic Motel — a subsidiary of Galvan.
The resolution would have allowed the foundation the right of first refusal for rooms in the company’s 25-room motel under renovation, according to the committee’s minutes from the Jan. 16 meeting.
The right of first refusal means that Galvan would get first crack at who they would accept at the motel, Health and Human Services Chairman Patrick Grattan said.
The county already partners with three motels within the county to provide temporary housing, but there is still a need for more housing, Grattan said.
“We also have to go out of the county in Albany and Rensselaer and Dutchess to house people,” Grattan said. “We don’t have enough short term homeless housing in Columbia County.”
The Galvan Foundation will contract non-profit organizations to monitor guests referred by the county Department of Social Services. They will monitor residents to make sure they are not abusing drugs or alcohol and to make sure they are looking for permanent housing and employment, Grattan said. Those services are not provided by other motels, Grattan said.
The contract was sent back to the Galvan Foundation for revisions in January. Those revisions will be reviewed by the Health and Human Services Committee in March, deputy committee chairwoman Sarah Sterling said Wednesday.
Committee members decided to table the contract in January because members had several questions about it, Sterling said.
Neighbors of the motel also had concerns, which needed to be addressed, Sterling said. Sterling did not know what those concerns are.
The Health and Human Services Committee met again Wednesday. The contract was not discussed, but a public meeting will be held March 15 at 4 p.m. at 401 State St. to discuss it. The public will be able to speak about the contract at the meeting, Sterling said.
“Public comments along the way, too, are always welcome,” Sterling said.
The Columbia County Board of Supervisors is not likely to vote on the contract until its April 11 meeting at 7:30 p.m., Sterling said.
Sterling is waiting to see what the new contract is before she comments on it, she said.
“I think the basic concept could be a wonderful prototype for services for the homeless,” Sterling said. “The concept, I think it could really good idea, but I am waiting to see the details.”
The county Department of Social Services will provide transportation for the clients placed in hotels, according to the Galvan Foundation. The motel, located near John Alvarez and Sons, 3572 Route 9, is about 6 miles from Hudson.
There is no set limit on the duration a guest can stay at the motel as long as guests have the ability to pay, according to the foundation.
The Galvan Foundation plans to open the motel even if its agreement with the county is not ratified before April, according to a statement from the foundation.
Galvan owns and operates over 180 units of affordable housing and is developing an additional 20 units throughout Hudson, according to a statement from the company.
“One of Galvan’s key initiatives is creating a wide range of housing options, including special needs, senior, low-income, moderate and market rate rental housing,” according to a statement from the foundation.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.