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Town set to shutter Skylane

Laundry list of violations show longtime neglect

A bathroom door in one of the rooms at the Skylane Motel

A bathroom door in one of the rooms at the Skylane Motel

On a semi-annual schedule, the county would have inspectors go to the motels unannounced to check on the living conditions, but Albany County Deputy of the Department of Social Services David Kircher said that during their searches, they have limited access to the buildings. The county’s most recent inspection at the Skylane took place in August.

“We do not have the authority to close them down; only the town has the authority to close them down,” said Kircher. “We can stop sending people there.”

County spokeswoman Mary Rozak said the county only had two men staying at the Skylane when the search warrant was issued, and they were moved after the investigation began.

She said they have agreements with other hotels in the area that are used as a last resort when there are no beds available at the city mission, which has 434 beds. In mid-January, the number of people placed in those hotels by the county was six.

Despite the county’s August investigation, the sub-par living conditions at the Skylane revealed in December showed what appeared to be longtime neglect. Walls and ceiling tiles were covered in mold. Outlets had some sort of hardened mystery substance oozing from them and wiring was frequently exposed, among other problems.

“What’s really upsetting to me was that when you went in, it was obvious to me those were long-standing conditions. Those things didn’t happen overnight,” said Maggiulli. “The million-dollar question is, ‘How long has it been going on and why hasn’t it been caught before?’ That’s what has been bothering me. When I saw those conditions in there, no one should have to live like that. It’s a question you should ask the county, and I’m not real happy with some of our guys to be honest with you.”

Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan said she understands that the county is often put in a difficult position because officials are looking to find shelter for people caught up in the system.

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Comments

Sbredice 11 months ago

Who is held accountable for this travesty? As a taxpayer, I am outraged that money is given to these motel owners and there is no accountability for the maintenance of these buildings. As a human being, I am disgusted that we allow individuals and families to live in the filth and deplorable conditions at places such as the Skylane and other subsidized shelters and overflows. It's time to look at how the money is spent. Shouldn't these owners be required to use part of this funding for upkeep? These are contractual services. Are there no stipulations?

I think the bigger question is why so much money is being spent for homeless shelters and overflow? The answer lies in the lack of affordable housing for the working poor and middle class. I would rather see my tax dollars being spent on permanent housing that is affordable for individuals and families. As taxpayers we should all be ashamed that these shelters and motels have become dumping grounds for the homeless. The residents of Albany County and the Town of Colonie would be better served if the lack of affordable housing was addressed with mindful planning and forethought.

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