Ulster County plans to use former group home in Kingston for veterans' housing
KINGSTON, N.Y. — A former group home at 67 Wurts St. in the city’s Rondout district could be used to provide transitional housing for Ulster County veterans.
County Executive Michael Hein on Wednesday said plans are in the works for the state-owned building to be turned over to the county to provide temporary housing and other services to veterans in need.
“We believe this provides an opportunity for transitional housing in a manner befitting people who have fought for our country, regardless of their financial situation,” Hein said.
Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo called the initiative “another great example of what can happen when all levels of government collaborate and work together.”
Deputy County Executive Ken Crannell said the Hein administration will ask the county Legislature later this month to adopt a resolution requesting the state authorize the transfer of the property.
State Sen. William Larkin, R-Cornwall, said once the county Legislature acts, he will introduce a bill in the Senate to transfer the property to the county for $1.
“It’s my privilege to be able to sponsor this legislation,” said Larkin, a military veteran. “I can think of no group more deserving of this support, and I look forward to making this proposal a reality.”
Larkin said state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill has agreed to introduce an identical bill in the Assembly. Cahill, D-Kingston, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Creating transitional housing for veterans was among the initiatives Hein laid out in his 2012 State of the County address, saying some veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as some who fought in prior wars, are “struggling to readjust to civilian life.”
“Returning military personnel who find themselves in difficult straights should never find themselves abandoned. They deserve clean, dignified housing regardless of their circumstances,” Hein said. Continued...
Crannell said the Wurts Street property, which most recently was used as a group home for people with disabilities, provides the needed infrastructure to create temporary housing for veterans.
Its location also will provide veterans with access to programs designed to help them become self-sufficient, he said.
In his State of the County address, Hein said the county would use a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Ulster County Community College “president’s house” in Stone Ridge to fund the program. The college’s board is expected to vote on the sale of that house next week.
Hein said the Stone Ridge property has an estimated value of more than $500,000.
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