Safe housing options must remain open for families facing homelessness
Note-The following letter to the editor, written by St. Catherine's Executive Director Bill Gettman, appeared in the March 9 edition of the Times Union.
I am writing to you today on behalf of St. Catherine’s Center for Children regarding the local law to limit motel stays to 28 days.
St. Catherine’s Center for Children provides a comprehensive range of human services designed to offer hope, foster growth, and improve the lives of the children and families we serve. We are deeply aware of the needs of low income families and children.
We recommend re-evaluation of the Colonie law limiting motel stays to 28 days due to its potential impact upon low income families and children. The proposed law regarding a maximum 28 day length of stay at motels within the Town greatly impacts the working poor and could result in very serious consequences and impacts in terms of increased homelessness, educational neglect, and health care.
Families selecting motel options often do so due to issues related to poverty, low income and disasters that result in loss of housing. In addition, motel stays are often needed for those families that have difficulty obtaining more permanent housing due to the need to provide large security deposits.
On a broader scale, we believe that safe housing options must be available across the Capital Districts for these families. The Albany County Coalition on Homelessness, in partnership with state and local government, is aggressively working on the root causes of homelessness and housing options.
We equally believe that housing options need to be safe for children. Existing code enforcement efforts are critical to this need.
This issue is of special concern to working poor families and we strongly urge you not to potentially displace school aged children as would be required under the proposed law. Finally, as we collectively endure sub-zero temperatures, we can't help but imagine a low-income family being forced to move on a cold night because of a local law.
William T. Gettman, Jr.