Mayor Tyer will host a community forum on housing and homelessness on Thursday. Here’s a glimpse of what the city is working on | Berkshires Center
PITTSFIELD — As the winter season approaches, the housing crisis and the lasting effects of the pandemic approach, residents are discussing with renewed interest how to help those experiencing homelessness in Pittsfield.
It’s a conversation that has spilled over to Facebook pages, city council meetings and The Berkshire Eagle’s opinion and news pages. On Thursday, Mayor Linda Tyer will take part in a community forum on PCTV at 6 p.m. to address the issue.
Tyer told city council on Tuesday that the forum — which will focus on homelessness, begging and housing options, among other topics — will outline the network of local support agencies and city programs working to help homeless residents. lodging.
The mayor gave the council an overview of that work, outlining “a very comprehensive plan, as developed by my administration, to provide as much care as possible to those who are willing to receive help.”
Here are the highlights of this presentation:
The city’s emergency shelter
- The long-awaited new emergency shelter at First United Methodist Church on Fenn Street has a new opening date. Tyer said the project, which will relocate the city’s emergency shelter from the former St. Joseph High School, will be completed in the spring of 2023 — about three years after its original proposal.
The big new law allocates $2 million to the region, with efforts to close housing gaps and poverty high on the priority list.
- The mayor said the city hopes to open the new shelter by November 1. She believed that the need for major renovations to make the building accessible, supply chain issues and contractor issues were the causes of the delay.
- Community Development Director Justine Dodds is reportedly in talks with ServiceNet to keep the St. Joe shelter open 24/7 to residents from November through May. The shelter closes to residents between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.
- The St. Joe’s refuge has a capacity of 50 people. The new Fenn Street shelter would have a capacity of 45 people. The mayor said his administration believes the 45 beds “should be enough to help us meet emergency accommodation needs in the event of a crisis.”
New permanent supportive housing
New affordable housing
- Regan Development Corp., a New York-based family development group, will transform the White Terrace Apartments into “affordable housing”.
- The project will create 41 affordable units, according to Tyer.
- The mayor said 25 units will be affordable for people whose income is “at or below 60% of the region’s median income.” She said the remaining 16 units will be affordable for people at 30% of the area’s median income and reserved for the “homeless preference,” as well as state Department of Mental Health clients. and people with disabilities working with community housing programs.
- Tyer cited the 2020 census figure of $56,620 as the area’s median income.