Thursday, 01 June 2023 14:01

City Sets Sights On 24/7 Homeless Shelter

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city received one response to its RFP seeking to obtain proposals from qualified nonprofit organizations to operate a temporary low-barrier homeless shelter in Saratoga Springs. That respondent is RISE Housing and Support Services. 

“The next step for the City Council is an award of the bid; If that passes then we would enter into a contract with (RISE) and do a budget amendment to pay for the contracted amount,” Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim said on May 31. 

That potential shelter will serve as a temporary one and in lieu of a permanent shelter site – anticipated to be decided upon at some point this summer.

At the time it issued the RFP (Request for Proposal), the city was engaged in hoping to secure a public-private partnership by June 1 with the locally based RISE Housing and Support Services to provide a year-round, low-barrier, 24/7 interim homeless shelter at 4 Adelphi St. The agreement was to be discussed at length and voted on by the council in early May, but the item was pulled from the table after the council deemed an RFP for the project would first be required. 

Several weeks later, the one respondent to the proposal eventually turned out to be RISE Housing and Support Services. The organization detailed $239,385 as the amount needed as an operating budget to hire, train and staff the program, as well as maintain the facility. According to the RFP, contractors were requested to submit an annual proposed operating budget. 

That initial draft agreement stipulated the city provide funds to operate the interim shelter from the date of execution to Dec. 31, 2023, and pledged sufficient monetary resources to fully fund the operations of the facility “for the 2024 Fiscal year and such future years as required.” Additionally, it specified that the city anticipates awarding a 6-month contract for the remainder of 2023 and a subsequent one 1- year contract with up to three 3 additional 1-year renewal periods. 

City Still Seeks a Permanent Shelter

The Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness is currently searching for a permanent site for a homeless shelter and navigation center and is anticipated to provide its recommendations to the City Council in July. 

The Taskforce was formed In February 2023 and was charged with determining a working definition of “low-barrier,” determining whether there is a need in the city for a low-barrier shelter, providing recommendations for a possible location for a low-barrier shelter, and offering recommendations on possible funding sources for the operation of such a shelter. 

The implementation of any proposed shelter by the Taskforce, however, is anticipated to take several months or some years to complete. With the recent RFP, the city is hoping to create a temporary shelter for the unhoused in Saratoga Springs as an interim solution. 

The Adelphi Street building is the venue that served as the last city winter-seasonal temporary shelter. That lease, which was $8,000 per month and involved the Shelters of Saratoga organization, expired April 30. In previous years of operation, Saratoga County as well as the State have provided some level of funding support for shelter operations. When asked in April about the county’s potential support of a shelter based in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Todd Kusnierz said: “We will entertain any proposal that is provided to us.”

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