News

AUGUST 5, 2020

Shelters of Saratoga Names New Executive Director

Duane J. Vaughn to lead the organization starting next month

Saratoga Springs, NY —Shelters of Saratoga (SOS), one of the area’s leading homeless service providers and operator of Saratoga County’s Code Blue program, announced today that it has hired Duane J. Vaughn to be its new Executive Director after an extensive search led by its Board of Directors. Vaughn starts with the organization on September 7, 2020.

Vaughn joins the SOS team with significant nonprofit leadership experience. He served as Executive Director for the Tri-County United Way for the last four years and was previously the Executive Director for 13 years of WAIT House, an OCFS-licensed Emergency and Transitional Shelter Program for Homeless Youth in Glens Falls. With the WAIT House, he opened the Emergency Shelter Program in December of 2003 and the Transitional Living Program for Homeless Pregnant and Parenting Youth in July of 2010.

“We are confident that Duane’s leadership will help Shelters of Saratoga continue to expand and strengthen its mission of providing individuals with safe shelter, supportive services and sustainable strategies to end homelessness in the Greater Saratoga region,” said Peter Capozzola, Board Chair for Shelters of Saratoga. “Duane’s many talents, collaborative approach and wide-ranging experience will help us accelerate opportunities for long-term sustained housing for Saratoga Springs’ most vulnerable population. He’ll be an asset to the community, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him lead our organization.”

Currently, Vaughn serves as a Board of Director for the New York State United Way and on the Steering Committee of the Saratoga Warren Washington Counties Community Organizations Active in Disaster. Previously Vaughn has served as a Board of Director for the Warren Washington Association for Mental Health and  Co-Chair of the Warren Washington County Transportation Committee. Vaughn has also been a voting member of the OCFS Runaway Homeless Youth Advisory Board and served on their steering committee. He has served as a member of the Capital Region and North Country Human Trafficking Task Force, Washington County Children’s Mental Health Committee, Saratoga/North Country Continuum of Care as Executive Committee member and Steering Committee chair, Warren Washington Housing Coalition (past chair), The Adirondack Non-Profit Business Council (past chair) and has served as Councilman for the Town of Fort Ann. Vaughn graduated from Fort Ann High School and The State University College at Oneonta with a BA in Psychology. Vaughn lives in West Fort Ann with his wife Mindy Wilson and dog Oliver.

“I have been blessed to work with such wonderful organizations as the Tri-County United Way and the WAIT House,” said Vaughn. “I am truly excited to begin working with the dedicated staff and Board of Directors of Shelters of Saratoga. The Saratoga community is invested in solving complex issues for populations that are vulnerable and at-risk, and I am thankful that I will be able to be a part of that collaborative process.”

Vaughn left an indelible mark during his time with the Tri-County United Way, and the organization praised his leadership and commitment to the community he served.

“Duane has been invaluable to the success of Tri-County United Way since becoming Executive Director in 2016. His organizational skills and true care for the disadvantaged in our area have come at a crucial time. He has become an integral and important leader in our community. His presence and leadership will be missed greatly, but we wish him only the best in his new position,” said David Krogmann, Board President of the Tri-County United Way.

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APRIL 7, 2020

SHELTERS OF SARATOGA RESPONDS TO COVID-19

[Saratoga Springs, NY] –  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shelters of Saratoga (SOS) Executive Director Karen Gregory announced Sunday that The Holiday Inn, located in downtown Saratoga Springs, New York will serve as a temporary location for the city’s homeless. Isolating people experiencing homelessness in individual hotel rooms with access to private bathrooms is the best possible solution to facilitate safe distancing and the ability to practice good hygiene thus preventing a community-wide spread of COVID-19. Food service, basic necessities and case management is being provided to those staying in the hotel. The shelters on Walworth Street remain open and SOS is serving over 100 people through the outreach program which provides people with food and hygiene products.

 

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of people we are helping each day. Social distancing and hygiene is the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, people experiencing homelessness don’t have the ability to stay home.” Gregory said. “People experiencing homelessness don’t have regular access to sinks where they can wash their hands and those staying at homeless shelters can’t always remain six feet from another person. There are simply too many people and not enough space.” Quarantine for a sick or exposed individual would not be possible in these settings.

 

In addition, homeless individuals face a variety of issues when it comes to COVID-19. Age, poor health, disability, and living conditions make them highly vulnerable to illness. Once the virus is introduced to this high-risk population, further transmission will be very difficult to contain. As such, Shelters of Saratoga initiated this proactive, rapid response plan for this crisis.

 

Gregory stated “I made several requests to Saratoga County to move our shelters into a local hotel before someone was symptomatic or tested positive for COVID-19. I was told over and over again that would not be possible until somebody tested positive, although I explained at that point it would be too late and I was afraid we would have a shelter full of very sick people including my staff. Ultimately, I did not want anyone to die.”

 

When Gregory voiced her concerns and ideas to Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly, the Mayor was immediately aligned with her worries. They met the next morning and started going door to door to find a hotel. Kevin Tuohy, General Manager of the Holiday Inn in Saratoga, offered his support immediately and without hesitation. Tuohy added, “In 1961 the idea of a community hotel in Saratoga Springs was born.  While asking for donations from locals, the founders of the hotel stated that “change can impact a community in a positive way”. Fifty-six years later, we are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to change the way we operate to support the Saratoga Springs community in this time of unprecedented crisis.”

 

While the guests will be staying at the hotel, Gregory has opted to move in as well to keep operations running smoothly. “Although, I miss my family tremendously, it is critically important to me, to keep both my family safe as well as the people SOS is serving.”

 

Kelly shared this, “As Mayor, it’s my job to protect all of my citizens, including and especially those most vulnerable. Current federal and state guidelines for COVID-19 and homeless individuals set a reactive threshold – quarantine only after an individual presents with symptoms. For our city, this was not a high enough standard. I’m proud that Saratoga Springs is joining a short, but growing list of communities across the country prepared to prevent infection and spread among our homeless population by using hotels to practice social distancing and enable access to adequate hygiene, hand washing, and quarantine. This will save lives. And I’m grateful to Shelters of Saratoga’s Executive Director, Karen Gregory for her agility in the face of this crisis and to Kevin Tuohy, General Manager of the Holiday Inn here in Saratoga for stepping forward.”

 

About Shelters of Saratoga:

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. 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

  • Accountability

  • Life skills

Learn more: http://sheltersofsaratoga.org/

 

March 17, 2020
NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SHELTERS OF SARATOGA RESPONDS TO COVID-19

[Saratoga Springs, NY] –  Individuals experiencing homelessness include many older adults, often with compounding disabilities, who here in Saratoga Springs reside in small, congregate shelters or in unsheltered locations with poor access to sanitation. Their age, poor health, disability, and living conditions make them highly vulnerable to illness. Once COVID-19 is introduced to this high-risk population, further transmission will be very difficult to contain. As such, Shelters of Saratoga has initiated a rapid response plan for this crisis.

“People experiencing homelessness not only are challenged to do what we are asking like, washing hands, staying indoors, talking to their medical providers when they are not feeling well – but many are already impacted with health issues, thus putting them at-high risk of contracting the virus.” said Karen A. Gregory, Executive Director of Shelters of Saratoga, Inc.

SOS’s Case Managed Emergency Shelters house up to 32 individuals a night in a congregate-style setting. They also sponsor the Emergency Winter Shelter – Code Blue which houses up to 61 individuals each night between October 15th through April 15th. It’s Executive Director, Karen Gregory said quarantining someone inside the building is not an option.

“Across all of our programs, we will be working unconventional hours to secure coverage. Until this passes, we will not be doing business as usual – the safety of the team and all of the guests are of utmost importance to me. This is a difficult time and we do not have the luxury of working remotely.  We are here, present and in the trenches – side by side the individuals we are serving,” Gregory stated.

Shelters of Saratoga also operates an outreach program for the many individuals living in motels scattered throughout the county, parking garages and those who do not come indoors. The SOS outreach team is working to get critical information about the virus to people, who are in many cases unaware of the dangers posed by this virus.

Shelter staff are monitoring guests for symptoms and encouraging people to self-report if they’re not feeling well. But in the event of an outbreak, Gregory said she would need support from the Department of Health, the Local Department of Social Services and area hospitals to treat and house the sick, as well as to make sure that they are connected with food and other services they depend on the shelter for.

In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Meg Kelly convened a special meeting of the City Council on Monday to pass a unanimous motion to convert the Senior Center at 5 William Street. The location will serve as emergency shelter for the homeless currently staying in the Code Blue Shelter at 4 Adelphi in the face of COVID-19.

“Our team is so grateful to Saratoga Spring’s City Council and Mayor Meg Kelly for their unanimous vote. In this new location, we will have three rooms which will easily allow for separation. I am proud and grateful to work in a city that cares so deeply for its most vulnerable,” Gregory stated.

 

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About Shelters of Saratoga:

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. 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

  • Accountability

  • Life skills

Learn more: http://sheltersofsaratoga.org/

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May 7, 2019

For Immediate Release
Karen A. Gregory, Executive Director
Shelters of Saratoga
518-581-1097
kgregory@sheltersofsaratoga.org

Saratoga Springs Restaurants and Groups Served 8,500 Meals To Homeless This Winter

 

Code Blue, Saratoga’s emergency winter shelter in partnership with local restaurant establishments and groups prepared and served over 8,500 meals to guests of the shelter this past winter. The effort shows the breadth of collaboration in the Saratoga Springs community to ensure individuals experiencing homelessness are connected with the basic need of shelter and food during periods of cold weather. The shelter operates from November 15-April 1 at Soul Saving Station Church on Henry Street in the city.

“The nightly effort to provide nutritious meals for people experiencing homelessness is a heartwarming reminder that Saratoga is a community who leaves no one behind,”  said Karen A. Gregory, Executive Director of Shelters of Saratoga. “The groups which prepare meals and feed guests do so without expecting anything in return. It’s a true example of generous community spirit and love for those lacking basic human needs and who may otherwise go hungry.”

Providing food security to shelter guests is supported by Longfellows Restaurant, Olde Bryan Inn, The Brook Tavern, Druthers Brewing Company, PJ’s BBQ-SA, Esperanto, Cantina, Dominos, and The Mercantile Kitchen and Bar. Additional contributors include Saratoga Stronger, Hands and Feet Ministry, Knights of Columbus, Presbyterian New England Congregational Church, The Giving Circle, Knights of Columbus, Saratoga Elks Club, Saratoga Casino and Hotel, United Methodist Church of Saratoga Springs, and Fingerpaint

Code Blue will resume shelter operations in late Fall 2019. Guests who were displaced by the recent closing of the seasonal shelter are connected to daily living supplies and services through the SOS Outreach Program and Drop-In Center on Walworth Street. Monetary contributions and supplies to support these efforts can be made in person or online. Visit www.sheltersofsaratoga.org for a full list of current program needs.

ABOUT: 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. Shelters of Saratoga has operated shelters in the city since 1991. Today it serves over 800 clients through community outreach, it’s Drop-In Center, two case managed shelters located on Walworth Street, Code Blue emergency winter shelter and two affordable housing units in downtown Saratoga Springs.  

 

March 12, 2019 : Robin Dalton to accept Shelters of Saratoga’s community service award at the March 28 Brighter Days Gala.

awardee-Dalton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipient of Help, Hope, and Humanity Award Announced

 

March 12, 2019 — Saratoga Springs, NY — Robin Dalton embodies the word community and Shelters of Saratoga is proud to announce she has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Help, Hope and Humanity award. She will accept the award at the Brighter Days Gala on Thursday, March 28 from 6-9 pm at Longfellows Restaurant.

Dalton has immersed herself in the Saratoga community she and her family have called home since 2007. While Robin is busy raising a family of four small children, she’s also an accomplished commercial real estate agent for Roohan Realty. However, when speaking to Robin, it’s evident her real pride comes from volunteering, raising awareness and advocating for community services that are the foundation of Saratoga Springs. Robin has worked tirelessly to promote and grow community services. Since 2009 Robin has been contributing her energy to the Saratoga Hospital Foundation, raising money to expand hospital services and open the Community Health Center which offers low or no-cost health services to individuals and families. Additionally, she serves as a board member and mentor for Saratoga Sponsor-a-Scholar. Robin’s recognitions include: 2017 Outstanding Parenting Award and Saratoga Woman of Influence.

In 2016, Shelters of Saratoga announced it’s winter emergency shelter, Code Blue would take up temporary residence at the Soul Saving Station Church, just feet from Robin’s family home. Initially hesitant to embrace the increased foot traffic a shelter for 40 people would bring, Robin reached out to city leaders, Shelters of Saratoga staff and her neighbors to learn more about the need the program is filling for its participants. Soon after the shelter opened in November 2016, she and her family began volunteering, cooking and contributing supplies to the program. “I’ve embraced my new neighbors and have a greater understanding of the challenges they face each day” says, Dalton. “My eyes have been opened to the true need for a permanent shelter in Saratoga. It will give people a stable environment and opportunity in which they can move forward and out of homelessness.” Putting her words into action, Robin recently joined the Code Blue Solutions Task Force which primary objective is to find an accessible and permanent location for the winter shelter.

Please join Shelters of Saratoga on Thursday, March 28th as Robin accepts this honor. Reservations and sponsorships for the Brighter Days Gala are available starting at $100 and can be purchased at www.sheltersofsaratoga.org

 

December 18, 2018

Shelters of Saratoga Names New Executive Director

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Shelters of Saratoga (SOS) board of directors and staff welcome Karen A. Gregory to lead the agency as the new executive director. A veteran of nonprofit leadership for the Columbia-Greene Domestic Violence Program, Gregory has excelled in public and private sector roles throughout her career of more than 20 years.

Gregory joins the organization with a breadth of experience in nonprofit and public service agencies and corporations. As executive director of the Columbia-Greene Domestic Violence Program, Gregory led the agency through its growth with the acquisition of two agency-owned shelters and two transitional apartment buildings. In addition to her nonprofit experience, Gregory served as a law enforcement officer for five years. Most recently, she served in an operational leadership role for Target Corporation.

Gregory’s experience will further SOS’s efforts to materially reduce homelessness. Initiatives aimed at minimizing barriers to housing for the chronically homeless remain a priority for the agency.

“Simply putting a roof over one’s head does not address the supportive care some people need to retain housing,” stated Gregory. “The Housing First model of care removes the pre-conditions and barriers to housing some face. It provides stability through permanent housing then works to address health conditions, substance use and financial stability.”

SOS works to support individuals with housing, care and a path out of homelessness. Each year nearly 700 individuals use one of the four shelters, outreach, drop-in center, and low-income housing programs. Code Blue, a program of SOS, also works to house over a hundred individuals in an emergency shelter during frigid winter weather,

“Financial stress and trauma can disrupt or define one’s path,” stated Gregory. “As a community, it is critical that we work towards supporting livable wages, access to housing and support services to ensure people remain housed.”

Gregory attended SUNY Stonybrook and Zone 14 Police Academy. She is currently pursuing a degree in Educational Psychology. She has remained committed to human services through her volunteerism at St. Paul’s Center in Rensselaer and the YWCA in Troy. In 2017, Gregory received the Resourceful Women’s Award from the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region recognizing her community and professional efforts for advancing the empowerment of women and girls.

Karen can be contacted at kgregory@sheltersofsaratoga.org or 518-581-1097

ABOUT SHELTERS OF SARATOGA

Shelters of Saratoga is a non-profit organization which provides individuals with safe shelter, support services and sustainable strategies to end homelessness in the Greater Saratoga region. For more information on SOS, visit sheltersofsaratoga.org.