It's a new approach to helping the homeless in Albany County. Sheriff Craig Apple says within the next few weeks, what has up-to-now been an empty wing of the jail will be converted into transitional short-term housing.
Initially, 25 rooms will be available, with another 25 under renovation. Eventually, Apple says, if the program is successful, as many as 200 rooms could be utilized.
“There is a shortage of adequate transitional housing in the area, and I want to utilize space that we no longer need, to provide a clean independent housing atmosphere for those trying to get their lives back on track.” said Sheriff Apple.
He says while decommissioned jails have been used elsewhere to help the homeless, it may be a first to take advantage of space inside a fully-functioning facility.
The sheriff has been working with the New York State Commission of Corrections and community partners such as the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society to utilize this extra space. Apple is also renaming the facility to reflect the fact that they "do more than simply hold people." Effective immediately, he says it will be called the Albany County Corrections and Rehabilitation Services Center.
Photo: WGY News