Homeless Action Committee operating in deficit

November 10, 2017 06:17 PM

ALBANY -  An overpass at the bottom of Clinton Avenue in Albany is where Karen Vonnegut was living until the Homeless Action Committee outreach van found her at the end of October.

"It was a wonderful blessing to me.  I can't say enough about the HAC van service," said Vonnegut, of Albany.

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The van transports ten to fifteen people, from the streets to shelter, a night and often more.  And when the temperature drops below 32 and a Code Blue is in effect the van is on the road for extended hours insuring no one's left in the cold.  Additional cost for fuel, staff and vehicle wear and tear during Code Blues cost HAC $6000 that it hadn't budgeted for last year.

"It's financial stress on our organization with Code Clue," explains Cody Arana of the Homeless Action Committee. "Took so much of a deficit last year."

Police and rescue crews also work to transport people to warmth during a Code Blue. But HAC has relationships with many of Albany's homeless so they're trusted.  HAC staff also know where to find people who need help most on cold nights and they are aware of all the resources available in the City.

"That's the time they end their day and look for a place to go and at that time there's no more space in shelters," maintains Arana.

The outreach van doesn't just help for one night, however,  The goal of the Homeless Action Committee is to connect people to permanent services.

"This van rescue people where they are and brings them to the situation which is more stable and secure for them," adds Vonnegut.

Code Blue in New York is an executive order, signed by the Governor.  Problem is there isn't legislation to back it up and legislation is required for state funding.

Additionally, the HAC outreach van requires about $1000 for winterization.  If you'd like to make a donation, please visit the non-profit's web site.



Abigail Bleck

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