Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Behind Closed Doors

The headlines of the newspapers have chronicled the tragic and fatal domestic violence incident that happened in Ballston Spa last week.  My heart and my prayers go out to the daughters who in an unfathomable instant lost both parents. May we grant them privacy and peace to grieve and hopefully find a way to heal.
A friend told me she had heard of the incident at the hairdresser, where customers who did not know the family were asking, “How could this happen? People must know … why didn’t anyone do something?” And that’s where this blog becomes not about this tragedy, but about the realities of domestic violence.
 One in four women is victimized by domestic violence in her lifetime*, yet this abuse often happens behind closed doors. Many victims call our hotline and say, “I’ve never told anyone this is happening… not even my sister.” Or they may say, “A friend gave me your number, but I’m not sure I should be calling you. I’ve never been hit.” People live each day with intimidation, verbal and emotional abuse, psychological control, financial abuse, and physical abuse… live in fear in their own homes.
And this is where the problem gets perplexing. If abuse is wrong… if it’s illegal…why do we have this problem? And that’s where we get stuck. One reason is we’re not sure how to help. I know I’ve been in the situation in my personal life where I was wondering if a friend was in an abusive relationship, but didn’t know if I should ask or how I should ask. I’d never actually seen abuse, but I had that funny feeling in my stomach that something wasn’t right. What if my intuition was wrong? Should I wait for my friend to say something to me… after all we’re friends and share all kinds of fears, frustrations, concerns, joys whenever we’re together. Wouldn’t she say something to me? Why wouldn’t a close friend confide in me?
A survey done by Bellingham Whatcom County in Minnesota identified reasons victims of intimate partner violence don’t disclose to medical or service providers:
§  One half weren’t sure if what was happening to them qualifies as abuse; this is especially true when the abuse is emotional, psychological, financial, or isolation rather than physical. (Are you familiar with less visible forms of abuse? The Power and Control Wheel identifies various forms of abuse.)
§  Two thirds of domestic violence victims reported they think it’s best to manage the situation by themselves. Sometimes victims are afraid that if they tell someone, people who are trying to help may make the situation worse or they’ll be whisked away into a shelter and lose control over their decisions.
§  Half of the respondents would not disclose due to shame, guilt, or embarrassment. Indeed stigma is a common deterrent to getting help… and all of us can work to remove this obstacle.
I recall twenty years ago when breast cancer was something spoken about in hushed whispers and embarrassed survivors battled the illness quietly in solitude. Now during October the eggs I make my morning omelet with each weekend have pink ribbons stamped on them, there are community walks to raise funds and promote awareness, and neighbors rally to support those battling the illness. We can do the same for domestic violence. A crime that affects one in four women is not a personal issue to be ashamed of…. it is a community issue that impacts our society and can only end when we bring it out of the shadows… when we open those doors and work together to find solutions.

We need to make societal changes to end abuse… and we need to be there to help victims who are currently in abusive relationships. Help is available 24 hours a day… it’s free … it’s confidential. And we won’t whisk you away to a shelter against your will. We won’t make your decisions for you-- decisions about calling the police, using the courts, or even leaving the relationship.  At DVRC, we help the person to identify needs and obstacles to safety… and help her/him to make choices to minimize the risk of future victimization. Indeed, giving victims information and the ability to choose is the first step in healing.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or you are concerned for a loved one:
You Are Not Alone
there is help
Call our 24 hour hotline 518-584-8188

Upcoming blogs about domestic violence this week:
When to get help
How to offer support to a friend

*Males can also be victims of domestic violence in both heterosexual and same sex relationships. Male victims have the same fears and safety concerns, but may be even less likely to disclose due to shame, stigma, and fear that they won’t be believed. Thus while domestic violence is underreported, we can assume that male victims are even more underrepresented in public statistics. DVRC provides services to victims of domestic violence regardless of gender.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Candlelight Vigil for Crime Victims

Let’s start with the  good news. According to the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services crime rates in New York State are decreasing:

"While New York State’s crime rate has decreased over the past 10 years,
New York has also reported a significant reduction in the actual number
of crimes reported. The number of major crimes reported fell each year
since 2000, reaching the lowest levels ever recorded in 2007 before rising
slightly in 2008 and falling again in 2009. There were 135,956 fewer
crimes reported in 2009 than in 2000, while the population of the State
increased by half a million."

The bad news is that there is crime in our community. In Saratoga County the 2009 crime rates per 100,000 residents were:
 75 Violent (murder, rape, robbery)                      
1,238 Property  (burgulary, aggravated assault, vehicle theft)
And while crime rates seem like just a statistic, behind each of these statistics there lives a person or family that has suffered as a result of that crime. From a young mother killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, to a family that withstood years of domestic violence, to a child violated and forced from innocence by a sexual predator, to a single person living alone who is afraid in his/her home because it was recently burglarized… these are the people behind each crime statistic.    

Each year during Crime Victims’ Week the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office and the NYS Task Force for Crime Victims’ Rights coordinate a candlelight vigil to provide remembrance, reflection and healing for those whose lives have been shattered by criminal activity. The vigil includes:
Reflections from a Crime Victim Survivor
Presentation of Public Service Awards
Candle lighting Ceremony, and a     

Please join for the Crime Victims’ Candlelight Vigil us on Sunday April 10, 2011 at 4pm
at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church
24 Circular Street, Saratoga Springs

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Prom Gowns, Bridesmaids' Dresses and Raising Awareness

On a much lighter note than usual... let's talk formal wear. It's that season again to pick the perfect dress for the prom or June wedding. OK, what does this have to do with domestic violence?   Rockabella, has moved to a new location just off Broadway and is having an open house.  Rockabella's owner Jackie Szurek has for many years supported the programs of DVRC by raising funds for services, but even more importantly by spreading awareness among women and girls about the prevalence of dating violence and domestic violence and services to help victims.

This Saturday Rockabella's open house will accomplish both those goals while also showcasing some of the trendiest and fashionable formal wear in the area. Please come shop with us:

Check out what’s in store for YOU!!
Saturday March 26th, 2011 6pm - 8pm
Recieve a Complimentary "Rockabella" Tank top in either Pink or Black  with ANY purchase!

 Watch a Fabulous Fashion Show featuring designs specially created for      Rockabella from local fashion designer KATIE PRAY plus the latest Prom,  Social and  Bridesmaid Styles.

 Get your Tarot Cards Read by the amazing Mary Shimp.

 Make Up Station and Giveaways by Anne-Marie Flores.

 Delicious treats from Phila Fusion and Yummy Cupcakes by Lisette Flores.

 $1 Raffles from Exciting local businesses such as Mary Martin & Co,  Dawgdom, Pro Nails, Union Grille, Saratoga Seamstress, Rockabella, Szurek  Chiropractic, Saratoga Springs Massage Therapy and more!  

                  All proceeds from our raffle will benefit DVRC!

Rockabella Boutique
10 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
518 581 8386

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homelessness ... No Longer Hidden in Plain View

Congratulations to the Saratogian for receiving seven awards in the national Suburban Newspapers of America editorial contest. Of  particular interest to me is that Mareesa Nicosia’s series Hidden In Plain View: The Plight Of Saratoga Springs' Homeless, received first place in the investigative reporting category.

In the big cities, homelessness is part of the urban landscape, so it’s noticed and discussed. When I was a kid my family made frequent train trips to New York City (my mom was a champion bargain basement shopper!... probably why I’m vehemently shopping-averse.) I recall as a child walking out of Grand Central and seeing rows of homeless persons warming themselves along the walls of the building on street grates and wondering why they were always there. Adult always answered, “They have nowhere to live… that’s just part of city life.” During my first year of college at Georgetown, each day I passed Vietnam veterans living on the streets of D.C., who were unable to reintegrate after returning home from the war. Years later, I traveled to a conference in Denver. Our ‘Welcome to Denver’ packet identified a concern with panhandlers and homeless persons (warning not to engage them) and identified strategies the city was taking to address the ‘problem’. In urban areas, homelessness has been obvious for decades and is discussed openly. But often these discussions focus on safety concerns or tarnished public image… rather than concerns for the welfare of people who are forced to live on the street.

In suburban communities, homelessness is hidden. Homeless persons live under bridges, in wooded areas out of the way or “couch-surf” for temporary lodging as a way of life. Because we don’t daily, quite literally, walk past people sleeping on the street,  we don’t think much about homelessness. It’s just not consistent with our shared image of our community, which is very eloquently described on the Saratoga Chamber’s website:

“Saratoga's attractions have been drawing visitors for centuries.
But, increasingly, these visitors are coming to stay:
opening their businesses and raising their families here.
Choosing Quality of Life”

So kudos to the Saratogian and to reporter Mareesa Nicosia for having the courage to remind us that some individuals in our community don’t have that same quality of life. Indeed each day they  struggle for basic survival… sometimes living just out of sight of the restaurants where we dine on delectable meals and the shops on Broadway featuring the latest fashions. The courage to put a series about these members of our community on the front page of the newspaper is what I think makes Saratoga so special. We are, with good reason, proud of the history, the commerce and the attractions that make us such a popular tourist destination. But there’s also a strong value among Saratogians of caring; we have a passionate commitment to our society, to helping others and raising the quality of life for everyone locally and globally. Now that’s what I call community… and that’s the value of a community newspaper! Bravo to Mareesa… and to all the Saratogian staff who received national recognition for their work.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shen Community Received Grant for Underage Drinking Prevention

New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez today announced federal grant awards totaling $8.2 will be awarded to select community coalitions to address underage drinking among high school students. The Shenendehowa Community Coalition was one of the 11 coalitions from across New York State to be selected for funding. Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said,
"Underage drinking continues to be a serious and persistent problem across the state and nation. This funding will allow communities to implement effective prevention programs, policies and practices that best address their local needs in reducing underage drinking and its related problems…There is strong evidence that the earlier in life a person starts drinking alcohol, the more likely he or she is to have alcohol-related problems throughout life. Community leaders have a critical role in shaping the environment to prevent underage drinking, and can guide adolescents through this very important period in their lives."
Research has shown that to effectively change attitudes, perception, and ultimately, behavior, prevention strategies must include a comprehensive approach that addresses both the individual and the environment. The Shendehowa Community Coalition will immediately begin work: 1) assessing their prevention needs based on current local data; 2) building their prevention capacity; 3) developing a strategic plan; 4) implementing evidence-based environmental strategies; and 5) evaluating their efforts for outcomes.
The Shenendehowa Community Coalition’s Mission:
Reduce and prevent risky behaviors among youth such as substance abuse, violence and problem gambling by developing community partnerships that utilize accurate data and implementing proven strategies.

For more information on how you can become involved contact:
Robin Lyle, The Prevention Council
36 Phila St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518-581-1230

Friday, March 18, 2011

Teen drinking... it's not a problem in my town

I applaud the Saratogian's recent series on alcoholism. I’ve worked in human services for more than 25 years (ouch-- that’s over a quarter of a century! When did that happen?). Throughout that time I’ve seen how alcohol and drug abuse damages peoples’ lives. I think it is the most prevalent social problem we have… and because many of us use alcohol responsibly, we don’t always see the magnitude of problems that alcohol misuse causes. While not always the root cause of problems, I've seen repeatedly how alcohol/drug abuse affects employment, homelessness, driving tragedies, domestic violence, sexual assault, mental health issues, HIV/AIDSfamily relationships, and happiness. But there’s hope. Over and over, I’ve seen lives transformed when people got clean and sober. And our greatest hope is that the next generation has a different relationship with alcohol that sets responsible use as the expectation. And changing that societal norm is the only way to address this problem.

We’re not there… yet. I am proud to be part of a strong community group, The Shenendehowa Community Coalition, that has been working diligently for years to address alcohol and drug use by youth in the Shenendehowa community. I live in Clifton Park and I think most of us don’t talk about substance abuse as a big community problem… we live in a great place. In reality, I think we’re just not talking about the extent of the problem.

The Coalition, in partnership with the Shenendehowa School System, surveys students biannually about drug and alcohol use (using nationally validated survey tools) Here are some surprising facts:

·         By grades 11-12, binge drinking rates among Shenendehowa youth exceed the state averages by over 14 percentage points. 
·         Tellingly, in youth focus groups conducted in 2009, 12th graders in the district denied a problem with binge drinking until it was defined for them as 5 or more drinks in a row.  With this definition, their comments revealed that binging is actually very common and that, in fact, 5 drinks is viewed by most Shen 12th graders as moderate alcohol consumption.
·         Both adult and youth DWI arrests for Saratoga County are higher than for similar counties or NYS on average. 
·         Youth receiving treatment for alcohol related issues is significantly higher than that for similar counties and the NYS average.

OK…. so let’s keep talking the  about nice neighborhoods, low crime, great educational system and all the other attributes of the Shen district… but let’s also start a conversation about what we can do about  our kids  and underage drinking.

Tomorrow --continuing the conversation …
an opportunity to get involved and make a difference for youth

The Shen Community Coalition is comprised of youth and adults from the school district, CAPTAIN, Clifton Park Elks, Town of Clifton Park, The Prevention Council, Saratoga County District Attorney, Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County, St. Edward the Confessor, Seton Health, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, the Saratoga County Youth Bureau, along with other local agencies and organizations. The Coalition’s vision is a safe and healthy environment where alcohol and substance use by youth is eliminated and every member of our community is aware of and involved in prevention of substance abuse.

The Shen Community Coalition's Mission:
Reduce and prevent risky behaviors among youth such as substance abuse, violence and problem gambling by developing community partnerships that utilize accurate data and implementing proven strategies.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Raising Funds to Support Our Veterans

Twenty-five million veterans are living among us today.
These men and women selflessly set aside their civilian lives
to put on the uniform and serve us. Steve Buyer

Saratoga County Rural Preservation  Company has been working hard for the past two years to bring a transitional home for homless female veterans in Saratoga County... and they're almost there. They still need your support to raise funds for renovations and furnishings so they can make Guardian House a reality. So I hope you'll save the date to attend this fundraiser for a worthwhile cause (and music by a terrific band too!)


Save the Date – April 15th!
On Friday April 15, 2011, WPYX and the Saratoga County Rural Preservation Company will be hosting a fundraising event at Vapor Night Club at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Proceeds from this event will go to the Guardian House Project, a transitory facility for homeless women veterans.
Door will open at 5:30 pm and a $10.00 donation is requested. Entertainment, beginning at 7:00pm, features Jay Yeager and the Audiostars. Between 5:30 and 7:00, Bud, Bud Lite and Michelob Ultra will be available at $1.06 each, compliments of PYX 106. A silent auction will run from 5:30 to 8:00pm.
The Guardian House, which is located at 1214 Route 50, Ballston Spa, will house up to 11 women veterans, who can stay up to two years. The program will be modeled after our male veteran’s facility, also in Ballston Spa, which has been operating successfully for the past 22 years. Funds are needed to help complete the furnishing of the facility and to perform some renovation projects.
We look forward to seeing all of our friends and supporters for a fun, end of the work week event, which will also support a good cause! 

For more information, call the Saratoga County Rural Preservation Company at 885-0091

Tingling Fingertips

"There's something about the theater
which makes my fingertips tingle."
Wole Soyinka

Since 1985, Homemade Theater has been tingling our fingertips with us affordable, professional quality, community theater.  My family has laughed, cried, pondered and been totally entertained as we sat in such intimate proximity to the artists performing onstage at the Homemade Theater. Throughout the last 25 years, the Homemade Theater has depended upon the support of our community to provide us this rich and accessible tradition of the arts. Right now this little gem of a theater needs our support and they're raising the curtain on a fun-filled evening where we can applaud their work and raise funds to support their next acts:

Home Made Theater, the resident theater company of Saratoga Springs, will host their Annual Spring Benefit which will take place on Saturday, March 26th at the Spa Little Theater in the Spa State Park. HMT will shine the spotlight on hometown dignitaries, supporters and talent at the annual benefit this year. Leading the way and guiding attendees through the evening will be film and television actor Chris Riggi. A homegrown star and HMT alumnus, Chris will take on a demanding duo role for the evening as master of ceremonies and auctioneer. The evening will include culinary jewels from Black Diamond Caterers, silent and live auctions, Skidmore’s acclaimed a’capella group the Skidmore Dynamics, special entertainment from the Saratoga High School Drama Club performing numbers from their spring musical “The Wedding Singer” and a chance to groove to the sounds of Franklin Micare Duo.

The fundraiser begins at 7:00pm with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a silent auction. Bid on fantastic dinners at a fine area restaurants, massages and other spa treatments, hotel stays, and tickets to various area events and attractions.  During this time, you can also strike a pose or many in a photo booth from Saratoga Photobooth Company.   Honorary chairs for the event are Cathy & Elliott Masie with underwriting support from Turbine Services Ltd. - The Riggi Family, Jaeger & Flynn Associates, Inc., and Saratoga National Bank and Trust Co.

Tickets to Home Made Theater’s spring benefit are $70 per person.  To receive a benefit invitation call HMT at 587-4427.  Reservations are limited.  RSVP deadline March 18th. To view invite go to www.homemadetheater.org.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homelessness ... A Better Understanding

On March 8th the Saratoga County Housing Alliance invited a panel of homeless persons to speak to our group so we could better understand what it’s like to struggle with homelessness and how we can improve services to homeless persons. We had four people, two men and two women,  ranging in age from 20’s-50’s who spoke candidly about how their lives took an unforeseen path that led to being homeless and how they are working now to rebuild stability in their lives. Comedians joke that public speaking ranks #1 in people’s fears… death is #2. For most of us, getting up and speaking in front of a group is anxiety producing. Speaking candidly in front of a group of strangers about your personal struggles, your mistakes, your dreams, about being homeless… that takes courage. I honor the integrity and the bravery of these four people and thank them for helping me to understand how providers can better assist homeless persons.

Each person spoke about their life before becoming homeless. Three had attended college. Only one had experienced homelessness as a child; he spoke about his family living out of a car during his youth, “We had the toothpaste in the car, our clothes, our food, we just lived out of that car… it was different… my father struggled with mental illness.” Another spoke about a supportive family and ‘normal’ home life, college cut short as alcohol and drug addiction led to a downward spiral ending in incarceration… and her long journey to break free from the addiction and begin again. Another spoke of a military career cut short as mental illness evidenced itself… his journey to get the treatment needed and learn to live with a mental illness. He smiled cautiously as he spoke about his goals to go back to school and work- knowing that he needs to pace these goals as stress can exacerbate the mental health symptoms. Another spoke of unhealthy choices, an abusive relationship, chemical dependency. All spoke about how when they were at their lowest point two things happened:
1)      They realized they needed to change their behaviors in order to improve their lives, and
2)      They desperately wanted help, but didn’t know where to turn in this county for assistance.
I was touched as one gentleman spoke with grace and compassion about relying on the soup kitchen for nourishing meals and how he sees small children at the soup kitchen and is troubled so much by the injustice that some children have food and some are hungry. All spoke about gratitude for the support and shelter provided by our local service providers and about gratitude when they have enough food to eat (and we all chuckled as over and over former residents of Shelters of Saratoga talked about the great meals there.)

One gentleman talked about a suicide attempt 2 years ago and how now he is so grateful that he received medical care at Saratoga Hospital that saved his life… that today he is glad to be alive. Each person acknowledged they’d made some bad decisions, choices that contributed to their problems (drug use, not taking needed medications, abusive relationships) and their struggles to overcome the consequences of these choices.  Some acknowledged that they’d been kicked out of programs for not complying with the rules,  “...and when I was kicked out, that’s when  I realized just how much I needed help… and I wished they’d give me one more chance, but it was too late.” I found myself looking back on my life and feeling lucky that some choices I’d made didn’t have lasting consequences, “Whew, I just squeaked by on that one!” More than anything I left thinking that while we have many services to assist people in need, when they’re really most in need… when they’ve hit bottom,  they often don’t know where to go to get help. Sometimes our social problems are so big I don’t know where to start… but awareness of services, this is one that seems fixable. The purpose of the panel discussion was to guide the Housing Alliance in developing programs to help the homeless and, more importantly,  to END homelessness. I’m looking forward to our next meeting to see what ideas this panel discussion generated for other members.

If you are interested in joining us to make sure that
no man, woman or child in our community lives without food or shelter,
the Saratoga County Housing Alliance meets
 the second Tuesday of the month
at 10:00 a.m.
at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.
Feel free to attend our next meeting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let's Leave the Cardboard Boxes for Make Believe Play Houses

For the past few months my husband and sons and I have undertaken a major renovation project; and we don't take on half-hearted projects. No faint-hearted ‘repainting and hanging new curtains’ renovation for us... we've ripped out plaster walls, kitchen cabinets, 60 year old cast iron bathtubs (which we discovered were installed then the walls built in around them--that's another story!),  sinks, steel wall tiles, flooring, toilets… basically gutted everything and started from scratch. In the early stages, I'm always motivated by the thrill of getting past the mess to the final project (bedsides I’m a virtuoso with a splitting mall, crowbar, or any other demolition tool). However, experience has taught me that every job takes three times longer than projected… and toward the end I get impatient (and generally start planning-- or beginning-- the NEXT project). We’re finally nearing that end, with all new cupboards, appliances, bathroom fixtures, and a shiny washer/dryer combo.

After an intense week installing all these new purchases, I had a whole room filled floor to ceiling with cardboard boxes. In an effort to be frugal, I decided to cut up all the cardboard into small pieces to use starting fires in our woodstove.  Who knew this would take most of an afternoon? After about 45 minutes cutting cardboard rectangles, I was decidedly grumpy and questioning why we have cardboard boxes at all. So trying to reframe my curmudgeonly outlook I started brainstorming the positive uses of cardboard boxes. After about 25 creative ideas my exercise stopped suddenly when I thought about how many people in and the world… and yes, even in the U.S., are forced to find refuge living in cardboard boxes. Humility and gratitude for the abundance in my life staunched any further grumblings. The day I was doing this was in February; it was cold, icy, windy and had been cold, icy and windy for an eternity already (2 months). I imagined living with cardboard walls, floors and ceilings- and realized how lucky I am.

I’ve got a full house-- 2 grown kids, 2 cats, 3 fish, a hamster and a galumphing 60 pound Golden Retriever puppy… lots of activity ...and mud. Sometimes I almost dread going home to the endless housework, repairs, snow shoveling in winter and lawn mowing in summer … oh and of course, there’s the dishes and vacuuming I didn’t get to this morning- a seemingly infinite ‘to do’ list of  life’s little worries... but I don’t daily worry about where my family will sleep tonight or if we’ll have food. I don’t worry about homelessness… but many in our community do. The Saratoga County Housing Alliance conducts a count of homeless persons each year. On just one single day in January last year they counted 289 single individuals and 89 families (with a total of 196 people in those families) who were homeless on that day in Saratoga County.  

The Saratoga County Affordable Housing Workgroup with assistance from CARES Inc. and the Capital District Regional Planning Commission recently completed Working Together for Affordable Housing Plan, a ten year plan to address affordable housing for all community members. Extrapolating annual numbers from available data they state “850 households is a more likely estimate of the homeless in the County.” We often envision homeless persons as we’ve seen them so often in the media--single men pushing shopping carts (maybe with a bottle in a paper bag) living on the streets in major cities. In Saratoga County, homeless persons often work, but aren’t able to make ends meet… often are families, and rarely live on the street all year (you can’t in the winter), but instead struggle each week to find somewhere to live for “just a couple of days’. Unlike the big cities, homeless in upstate New York is hidden and unrecognized. The Affordable Housing Plan cites a typical example of homelessness in our county:

“ …a young, working single father  was living in his home in Corinth which he owned with his partner and young daughter. When his partner moved out of the home, he had difficulty making the mortgage payments. Eventually his home went into foreclosure, but he was able to receive family help paying the mortgage. Soon after this short financial reprieve, the company he worked for closed, leaving him without a job for one month. His mortgage went back into foreclosure and he eventually lost his house. He had great difficulty finding an affordable place to move to that would keep his daughter near daycare and pre-school and close to his new job. He found a small house to rent but the rent was almost as much as his previous mortgage. He is now struggling with making his rent and affording the cost of fuel for the home. He is no longer eligible to get a mortgage on another home since he went into foreclosure. As a single parent, a large amount of his income is spent on child care costs. In order to make ends meet, his extended family is helping him with fuel oil costs.”

On one single day  we counted 485 homeless people in a community as stable as Saratoga County. Most people can’t imagine this... and can't imagine what it's like to be homeless.

Tomorrow’s blog:
A conversation with four people who are/were recently homeless.