A sneak peek from Bethesda House’s Fall/Winter Newsletter…

As we gear up for the colder months ahead, we want to ensure we are prepared and ready for the influx of individuals seeking warm shelter at night. Many are street homeless, some are squatting or living in facilities with no heat, some seek a smaller, well-staffed shelter for safety reasons.

Bethesda House has offered CODE BLUE services in Schenectady since 2016. Turning our hospitality room into a shelter, we offer beds, blankets, food and hot drinks for those seeking shelter for the night. Everyone who comes through the door has the opportunity to sign up for social work and case management services on the spot, to begin their pathway to stability. It is crucial to our mission that we make these points of contact to ensure no one is falling through the cracks.

However, this requires diligent seasonal staffing. In previous years, it was a scramble to find a group of driven individuals who are passionate about our mission and able to work overnight hours. This year, we are thrilled that we have fully staffed our CODE BLUE program for the year, thanks to the efforts of our finance and program management teams. They came together to recruit, hire and train our largest pool of qualified applicants to date.

This is no small feat and we are so grateful to have such a great, dedicated team set up in place. This year it will be especially important to be as prepared as possible considering the influx of migrants coming into Schenectady with nowhere to go. Over the summer, Schenectady County issued a state of emergency over the number of migrants who were coming from downstate and elsewhere in the country, put onto buses with little to no integration plan in place. Nearly 200 families were sent to Schenectady County over the summer and with current affordable housing shortages, few have been stably placed. As we near CODE BLUE season, their ability to find safe shelter is all the more dire. These asylum-seekers include families and children with real and urgent needs. Bethesda House has a strong working relationship with Schenectady County Department of Social Services and we stand strong to shelter those in need.

Anyone who has spent a night in the cold, even if it was just being underprepared during a camping trip, knows it can be a harrowing experience. Long-term exposure poses serious physical and mental health threats. Many succumb to self medicating to either sleep or stay awake through the night. It is not something to wish upon any human being and Bethesda House will continue to work with local providers to ensure there are enough warm beds this season. May we continue to offer the warmth in our hearts and of our services to all those who seek refuge here in Schenectady.

If you’re looking to help, we gladly accept donations of warm clothing or you can donate directly at bethesdahs.org/donate