ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- As the cold weather moved in, a total of 47 people used the new Rockland County Warming Center during its first weekend in operation, according to Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
"These numbers prove how much this service was needed," Day said. "We were able to find a creative approach to keeping some of our most vulnerable residents warm and safe and, at the same time, to connect them to services."
The Warming Center marks the first time that Rockland County is able to offer an overnight facility for single men who lack permanent housing.
The county continues to run its long-established shelter for homeless women, children, and families
The Rockland County Department of Social Services is contracting with Helping Hands Interfaith Coalition to run the Warming Center. It will operate until April 30.
"This center brings together the best practices of a public-private partnership to serve the community," Day said. "It shows what we can do when we work together."
He praised Rockland County Commissioner of Social Services Joan M. Silvestri, Rockland County Facilities Director Robert Gruffi, Ya'el Williams at Helping Hands and others who made the Warming Center a reality.
"Even one homeless person in Rockland County is too many," Day said.
Saturday night, the first day of operations for the new center, 28 people – 26 men and two women – were served. Sunday night 19 people – 17 men and two women – used the center.
Most arrived at the center on buses provided by Helping Hands from locations in Nyack, Spring Valley, and Haverstraw.
Pick up times are from 6-6:30 p.m. and 7:30-8 p.m., every evening at:
- Nyack: South Broadway in front of the First Reformed Church.
- Haverstraw: Commuter parking lot across from Village Hall.
- Spring Valley: Parking lot near Route 45 and Route 59
Two guests were brought to the center by police and one was referred from a hospital.
The center has 100 beds and the capacity for more. It operates in a secure location at the Dr. Robert L. Yeager Health Complex in Pomona, with fulltime on-site security.
Guests are given a bed, hot food and have access to a kitchen, shower, washing machine, and dryer. DSS staff is available to help connect people with services.
It will remain open during the day when the temperature is 32 degrees or colder. On warmer days, guests are transported to an outreach center run by Helping Hands in Spring Valley or other locations.
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