Center in Rensselaer helping to end homelessness

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Homelessness is an issue around the Capital Region that doesn’t subside during the holidays.

Since opening in 2006, St. Paul’s Center in Rensselaer has served more than 2,000 homeless women and children. The non-profit also works through the year to assist former homeless families.

Samantha Jones is a therapy dog at St. Paul’s Center in Rensselaer. Her owner is actually the executive director. She has eight families staying there currently.

“Yes, we’ve been full actually since July, but just over the last weekend we had two families move out and yesterday two families move in,” said Tracy, Executive Director at St. Paul’s.

They have the different rooms pictures of what the rooms look like, and there’s also the area.

When you think of homelessness and families, you think of kids – so there is a playroom for them, but Tracy explains why it’s important to not also stereotype homelessness, because their also a family.

“Usually when people are driving down a highway they come to an intersection, they stop and there’s the man standing there with ‘the sign,’ but in our case it’s families, it’s families who are displaced for a variety of reasons: fire, unsafe living conditions, loss of job, a break-up of a relationship. There’s a lot of a different reason why a family enters into homelessness,” Tracy said.

Her goal is to help them, house them, get them to move forward and get their own places.

“We have staff here, very dedicated, compassionate staff that provide support in a variety of different ways by helping them for instance find new homes, helping them for instance in learning budgeting so they can have the skills necessary in order to be successful once they leave here. But our after-shelter program if actually very unique in that we lend support to a family who has graduated from the shelter in 12 months, making sure that everything is going smoothly during that transition,” said Tracy.

The establishment could always use volunteers as well as donations.

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