Since 1991 Shelters of Saratoga has been providing assistance to people who are facing homelessness by offering a path to self-sufficiency and helping these individuals to get back on their feet through:
- Basic necessities
- Case management
- Service referrals and resources
- Positive social interaction
- Life skills
Shelters of Saratoga’s mission is to provide individuals with safe shelter, supportive services and sustainable strategies to end homelessness in the Greater Saratoga region.
A task force comprised of local agencies, elected officials, clergy members and concerned citizens was formed to address the growing need for homeless services in Saratoga Springs. A task force comprised of representatives from local agencies, elected officials, clergy members and concerned citizens led the initiative to open emergency winter shelter for homeless men.
In January, Shelters of Saratoga partnered with St. Clements Church on Lake Ave.
Just a few weeks later the shelter was relocated to a two-bedroom mobile home on Congress Street increasing its bed capacity to 8. The shelter provided temporary relief to 46 individuals in its first winter season.
Shelters of Saratoga, Inc. received not-for-profit 501c3 status under the Internal Revenue Service and State of New York.
Shelters of Saratoga received grants from a city-funded Community Development Block Grant and NYS Emergency Shelter Grant Program, enabling them to build a 19 bed shelter at 14 Walworth Street.
Shelters of Saratoga opened the doors of the new case managed shelter on Walworth Street. The shelter offers a structured and sober environment for people facing homelessness.
Shelters of Saratoga received designation as a Neighborhood Preservation (NPP) organization by the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal. That designation enabled SOS to successfully compete for grant funding that was then used to rehabilitate and make emergency repairs to Saratoga Springs homes that were owned and occupied by low-income residents.
The NPP designation facilitated the acquisition of an uninhabitable property at 112 Washington Street. SOS rehabilitated the property and opened four units for occupancy by low-income families and individuals.
A second property at 128 Grand Avenue was acquired and rehabilitated under the NPP designation. The opening of these units increased the total number of affordable housing units to seven. The units are offered to guests who successfully navigate the case managed shelter program, as they become available.
The City of Saratoga Springs deeded SOS with two parcels of land, 16 and 18 Walworth Street.
A two-unit facility at 20 Walworth Street was acquired from Saratoga County EOC. A transitional housing pilot program was initiated at this location that extended support to former emergency shelter guests for up to 18 months.
SOS was granted the funding from Alfred Z. Solomon to purchase a recreational vehicle in order to better serve street homeless individuals. SOS outreach workers and volunteers work to establish a relationship with the unsheltered people they meet in the city’s parks, downtown and outlying encampments. Their goal is to connect those who are living on the street with housing, employment, and other services that can end their homelessness.
SOS, with the help of Rebuilding Together Saratoga, converted the two unit transitional housing program at 20 Walworth Street into a 13 bed men’s shelter, expanding the capacity of the case managed shelter to 35 beds.
In December 2013, Nancy Pitts a local woman, known to be homeless, froze to death on the loading dock of the Saratoga Springs Senior Center. Ms. Pitts’ death prompted city leaders to implement a city-wide initiative that offered restriction-free shelter to any individual when the temperature was 10 degrees or below. Code Blue welcomed 69 individuals at Saint Peters Church on Broadway its first winter season.
In partnership with The Salvation Army of Saratoga Springs, the Code Blue program opened its doors to chronically street homeless individuals for emergency winter shelter.
SOS opened the doors to the Drop-In Center at 20 Walworth Street to provide restriction-free daytime services to chronically homeless and low-income individuals. The twice weekly program offers laundry, lunch, basic necessities as well as connections to local service agencies. The program is staffed by SOS outreach workers and volunteers and is funded in part by Bank of America Foundation
SOS became the official lead agency for the Code Blue program, which provided the program with long-term stability and expanded resources ahead of the 2015-16 winter shelter seasons.
Citing expansion of programs at The Salvation Army of Saratoga Springs, SOS dissolved the tenant/landlord agreement for the Code Blue winter shelter. After months of searching for a new location to house the program, Soul Saving Station Church on Henry Street answered the call. It was announced in October 2016 that the community room at the church would provide space for up to 41 individuals
On February 14, 2017 community members; Ed and Lisa Mitzen announced a gift that provides Code Blue with a permanent facility on the property adjacent to SOS’ 14 Walworth Street shelter. Once built, the facility would enable the program to provide separate floors for men and women guests, an industrial kitchen, showers; and storage and laundry facilities. The project gained affirmative approvals from the City of Saratoga Springs planning and zoning boards. The project is currently pending an Article 78 injunction that challenges the special use determination made by the boards in 2017 and 2018. The Code Blue program remains housed temporarily at Soul Saving Station and opened an additional 15 beds at the overflow shelter location, Presbyterian New England Congregational Church.