Thursday, June 26, 2008


Wednesday evening, a small group of 20+ gathered at the Unitarian Sanctuary on Sawkill Rd in the Town of Kingston to witness a panel discussion on POVERTY.

I had the privilege to catch the second half and got a refresher course on where weve been, are and going in these tougher times ahead.

The eminent financial crunch that is about to swamp every municipality and government agency is going to push more people into harms way.

Panelists were: Michael Berg from Family of Woodstock, Rev Darlene Kelly from the Clinton Ave Church/soup kitchen, and Roberto Rodriguez from UC DSS.
The forum was hosted by Mark Halenstein, PhD, who specializes in legal and social justice issues.

The issues were numerous, many focused on the City of Kingston and the County’s handling of our most vulnerable. The working poor are under-represented and of course the charming history of the Kings Inn and the housing of homeless on Broadway right in the most troubled area.

Addiction and financial issues play a huge roll in incarceration and the 85% recidivism rate. Where do you go after your 28 day program? Right back to the hell you ran away from, without community help, there is little chance of breaking free of the cycle.

Rev Kelly suggested placing rehab centers right in the middle of the problem zone. I didn’t quite follow the reasoning. I would want to separate those who seek a fresh start from the dealers they live with. But where to place people?

There is no housing. Kingston as a City has done its share and other towns aren’t willing to step up with services because it may cost them a few dollars. I agree with the panelists who are struggling with limited resources and an increasing client load, but the economic situation and killer fuel prices are beating down the taxpayers as well.

When speaking of the invisible citizenry, Mr. Rodriguez sited a study; in 2006 approximately 13 MILLION children in the U.S. were living below the poverty line, That’s a sad statistic for a country of such wealth. The effects and the conditions of childhood poverty, destitution and despair can be devastating in a child's life and in the life of the adult that child is to become.

My question…when will Lloyd, Woodstock, Saugerties and the rest of the towns step up and provide housing for the homeless and section 8 developments? We should all help them to help themselves, but that won’t happen if you continue to ship them to Kingston and forget about them.

You can review a much more detailed review of this meeting on Nancy Smith’s “Spreading Our Wings” Blog, she was also present. Thanks Nancy.


Anonymous said...

The winter fuel crunch is going to push people we didnt expect into a system that is already at the brink of collapse.

Without fuel to heat the home, all is lost. Even the lack of food will allow a family to make it to the soup kitchen.

Be prepared people. The long rein of King George will be felt for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

These towns will not put up this type of housing simply because they do not want this element in their towns and communities. It has very little to do with cost. They do not want the stigma associated with it. Kingston is doing more than their share.