GREENPORT — The Galvan Motel is preparing to open this summer to serve the homeless population of Columbia County.
The Columbia County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with the Galvan Foundation on May 9, 2018 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 on property purchased in March 2018.
Galvan anticipated reopening the 25-room motel last year, according to the final contract with the county, but construction delays have held up the project.
Meanwhile, Galvan Initiatives, which owns the motel, has announced it is hiring for positions at the motel, including a live-in motel manager. The positions will offer competitive salaries, Dan Kent, vice president of initiatives for Galvan Foundation, said Wednesday.
The manager would live in the home next to the motel, rent-free, in addition to receiving a salary.
“The motel manager is an integral member of the team in ensuring the overall stability and safety of the motel,” according to an advertisement from Galvan on Indeed.com. The salary is listed between $28,000 and $35,000.
An assistant motel manager position (salary $25,000 to $31,500) and a housekeeping position (salary $25,000) were also advertised, Kent said.
“The rooms have all new finishes and a really high-quality motel space that we are delighted to offer to folks referred from [the county] DSS [Department of Social Services],” Kent said.
Galvan will take 30 percent of its revenue for housing the homeless, who will receive priority for rooms at the motel, and use that money to provide security, including cameras, a manager and support services in a 890-square-foot space in the motel, according to the contract.
In the first year, the county will pay Galvan Civic Motel LLC — the branch of the foundation constructing the motel — $85 per room, per night, no matter how many people occupy a room, according to the 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.
The county’s homeless population fluctuates, depending on a number of factors, Social Services Commissioner Robert Gibson said.
“The number has been high over a 100, and it fluctuates,” Gibson said. “It goes down when we get nicer weather.”
Finding quality motel rooms to house people in an emergency has been a struggle for the county.
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,” 1st Ward Supervisor Sarah Sterling said in October. “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.”
The Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties, as part of its agreement with Columbia County, will provide two full-time case managers who will have overlapping shifts to be on site 11 hours a day, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties Director Jeffrey Rovitz said.
The case managers will coordinate a number of on-site services and referrals for county and nonprofit services, such as supportive employment programs, respite services for families, access to a mobile crisis team, budgeting classes and conflict resolution, to name a few.
Through the Galvan Foundation, a private enterprise, the county, through DSS, and the Mental Health Association, a nonprofit provider, the motel could serve as a model that could be replicated in other parts of the state and beyond, Rovitz said.
“Other nonprofits that have already expressed some interest with work on these projects,” Rovitz said. “We are very excited. It is really in some ways unique project.”
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.