Dutchess Jail shelters 80-plus homeless each day, offers services amid crisis

Most days for the last two months, amid a coronavirus pandemic in which the best course of action is to stay indoors and away from others, at least 80 otherwise homeless individuals have been given shelter at the Dutchess County Jail.

On many days the number has been 20-30 people higher.

And while there, members of the Mental Health America of Dutchess County staff have been able to offer help with such issues as addiction or wellness; about 20% have accepted the help, Executive Director Andrew O’Grady said. More than that accepted help receiving a federal stimulus check.

And, O’Grady said, having dozens of members of the region’s homeless population in one place rather than on the street allowed the group to isolate individuals to slow the spread of COVID-19 when needed.

The program, in which the Dutchess County Law Enforcement Center and Jail campus’ PODS, or temporary housing units, were turned into a 24/7 homeless shelter has been successful on several levels, O’Grady said, as a short-term solution amid crisis…read more

Published:  May 20, 2020
By:  Ryan Santistevan, Poughkeepsie Journal

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