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City donates land to shelter

More options are on the horizon for Saratoga Springs' homeless population with the donation of two parcels of land on Walworth Street to the Shelters of Saratoga group.

The City Council unanimously decided to donate two parcels, a total of 7,500 square feet of vacant land, to the shelter at its Tuesday, Aug. 5, meeting.

The parcels adjoin the shelter, and the group has been using one of them for parking.

Nancy Breem Lamb, executive director of Shelters of Saratoga, said the group approached the city about the lots a few months ago in hopes that transitional housing could be built on the land.

We can only help people for up to 60 days, and sometimes that just isn't enough time for them to save money for security deposits and first month's rent, she said. "Our vision is for a facility right next door where people will be paying rent."

Lamb said that such plans are in the earliest stages, with no estimates as to how many beds the facility would be able to provide.

Mayor Scott Johnson said that the project was an excellent proposition for the city. "I was very happy to take a city-owned lot that wasn't of any real benefit to the city and donate it toward this project," he said in a phone interview.

"The parcels are rather unusual as far as being marketable for other uses," Johnson said at the Aug. 5 meeting of the council. "Shelters of Saratoga has a proven track record of delivery for those who are less fortunate."

Johnson also said he conferred with officials from the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, which neighbors the parcels.

The shelter, located at 14 Walworth Street, helps around 300 people each year. It currently has 18 beds that are needed with increasing frequency.

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