submitted by Rachel Ruth

On Thursday, December 19, Hudson River Housing held a candlelight vigil for Homeless Person’s Remembrance Day, at its new Housing Resource Center at 310 Mill St, in downtown Poughkeepsie, across from their main offices. Rachel Ruth and Paul Gorgen participated on behalf of the Meeting and also to honor those who work there.

Attendees brought donations of warm clothing, and listened to remarks by the HRH Director, Christa Hines, highlighting the key role that HRH plays in finding shelter and support services for the local homeless. She spoke about the new resource center which provides many support services for people trying to find permanent housing, its staff, and key accomplishments this year, including the overflow centers such as the one provided by PFM. Mayor Rob Rolison spoke eloquently about the essential partnership that the city and HRH have formed to meet these urgent needs – we would each be less without the other. In a reminder of the critical needs being met, and the work still to be done, the names of local people who passed away this last year while homeless were read and remembered. The cold of that evening brought home to all how vital the need for shelter and housing can be. This struck close to home because, in Russia, where our daughter was born, the majority of children in orphanages become homeless when they age out of the system at 16.

After the outdoor vigil, attendees went into the new center to warm up and tour the building. It is a lovely restored Victorian home, tastefully converted to office space upstairs with large welcoming parlors and a kitchen downstairs, where clients can visit for help and respite, from shower facilities to assistance with applications. Robyn Seale, who grew up in our meeting, is a current staff member working with older teens and young adults, and she filled us in on the many projects they are bringing to fruition.