February 14, 2017
Shelters of Saratoga has announced a gift by the Mitzen family to build a new Code Blue homeless shelter
New Facility to open by next winter
Shelters of Saratoga has announced that the Mitzen family will pay for the costs of a new Code Blue homeless shelter to be built on the current Shelters of Saratoga property at 14 Walworth Street. The new shelter is expected to be open by next winter.
For the past few years, the shelter has had temporary residence at St. Peter’s Parish Center, the Salvation Army building and the Soul Saving Station Church in downtown Saratoga Springs.
Initial plans call for a two-story building with large kitchen, laundry room, men’s and women’s sleeping rooms, multiple showers and bathrooms, a large storage area for donated food and clothing, and a small Code Blue office. Bonacio Construction will be handling all the construction and appropriate permits, with assistance from the LA Group, and both have agreed to forego any profits to keep the costs as low as possible.
Code Blue is a walk-in, emergency homeless shelter that offers a hot meal and a warm and safe place to sleep when temperatures in the city are below 32 degrees or there is significant snow fall.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the generosity of the Mitzens and can’t wait to get started on this critical project. Our goal is to have the new building operational by November 1, 2017,” said Michael Finocchi, Executive Director. “It is our belief that having Code Blue in close proximity to the case managed shelters maximizes the opportunity for Shelters of Saratoga to provide the full continuum of homeless services to the individuals we serve. This project will allow us to more easily connect homeless individuals with the support services they need, including case management, mental health counseling, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Our ultimate goal is to get them stable and housed.” Over the past 4 years, 36 individuals who have used Code Blue services have successfully transitioned into the Shelters of Saratoga case managed shelter.
Finocchi continued, “This phenomenal gift solves the consistent challenge we have faced over the last few years of providing a permanent home for Code Blue. We can now focus on our fundraising efforts to secure community support in addition to local and state government funding to cover the operational expenses, which are necessary to successfully run the Code Blue program and other instrumental Shelters of Saratoga homeless programs.”
Since November 2016, Code Blue has been open 79 nights and 15 days. The program relies heavily on the over 200 volunteers to help staff both day and evening shifts. Volunteers assist with such tasks as meal preparation, set up and clean up.
“Ed and I have been two of the many volunteers at Code Blue over the years. We have seen firsthand the challenges of the prior buildings and feel a new facility built for Code Blue would allow for better care of the guests. We are truly so thrilled to be able to help the community in this way,” said Lisa Mitzen.
“Our family feels incredibly blessed to be able to help others,” said Ed Mitzen. “We recognize that Code Blue has been a community effort, and it is our belief that this new building will further the care of the homeless in our area. We hope that the city government comes together and expedites all the proper zoning and approval requirements, so we can get the shelter built quickly and efficiently. We also want to send a huge thank you to Sonny Bonacio of Bonacio Construction and Mike Ingersoll of the LA Group for stepping up to help see this project through.”
The mission of Shelters of Saratoga is to provide individuals with safe shelter, support services and sustainable strategies to end homelessness in the Greater Saratoga region. For more information, please contact Michael Finocchi at Shelters of Saratoga at 518-581-1097 or visit www.sheltersofsaratoga.org.
May 24, 2016
Code Blue Saratoga Seeking New Location
Shelters of Saratoga would like to extend its gratitude for your support of Code Blue Saratoga, emergency shelter. On May 24, 2016, The Salvation Army announced they would not renew the contract for the upcoming 2016-2017 season. For the last two seasons, The Salvation Army Worship and Community Center located at 27 Woodlawn Avenue, Saratoga Springs has provided safe respite for those who were homeless during periods of hazardous winter weather.
We understand The Salvation Army’s position with the growing demands of this program. In light of the new regulations implemented by the Governor’s Executive Order 151, which directed emergency shelters to operate when temperatures dropped below 32 degrees, it is expected that there will be an increased number of Code Blue days and nights in the coming season.
Shelters of Saratoga, the City of Saratoga and other local agencies are invested in the future of this program. While no immediate plans are in place, efforts will be underway to locate a suitable location for the Code Blue 2016-17 season.