Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association seeks input on homeless, panhandling

SARATOGA SPRINGS- Businesses in downtown Saratoga Springs are being asked to fill out a survey about the impact of homeless people and homeless people on their business.

The survey, which is being conducted by the Downtown Business Association, allows respondents to remain anonymous, but saysWhile you may choose to remain anonymous, please help us better represent DBA’s findings, your name, business location and email will be most helpful at the end of the survey.

The survey asks nine questions, some of which include a follow-up question e.g Does homelessness affect your employees? Negatively or positively? Please provide more detail in 3a.

The survey allows owners to submit video or photos.

“The purpose of the survey is to gather information from the business community and present this information to the public. [the] City Council, said DBA Vice President Heidi West in an email so we can solve problems collaboratively.

She said that members’ concerns about the homeless population have increased.

“The voice of our business community is important and this survey is one tool to make that voice heard,” she said. “The DBA Homeless Task Force was established in 2021 to address the ongoing challenges of our community, businesses and visitors. We partner with organizations like RISE, Shelters of Saratoga, Franklin Community Center, Wellspring and others that are part of the continuum of care in Saratoga County to compassionately address issues that may arise around our underserved population. “

He heard from many residents who opposed the punching law that the city hall may have in October Prohibited solicitation at various locations in the city, including within 20 feet of ATMs; In a parking garage, lot or station or on a sidewalk adjacent to those areas or in a public skyway, highway or tunnel. The House did not vote on the ordinance.

“There are currently no plans to bring it back,” Public Safety Commissioner James Montagino said.

Kathryn Hamilton, owner of Putnam’s Market, said she saw the survey but didn’t take it. She said they live with homelessness every day, outside of their store in the front or back parking garage.

“A few years ago, they weren’t very compliant,” she said. Now, even though it’s scary for people who use the parking garage and aren’t used to it, they tend to stay around the parking garage.

She privately said that she greets them when she leaves or leaves her vehicle.

“They know they don’t ask me for money because I never give it to them and I treat them like people and they are very nice to me,” she said.

In general, she said, they didn’t have any problems either.

“There are a few people who come in here and steal every time they come in here and we say, ‘OK, you can’t come back here anymore,'” she said.

While she has no issues with them, she said she is concerned about people who are not familiar with them or who are from the area.

“They’re in the city—some people find it scary to park in a parking garage because there’s a lot of drunks or high street people asking for money to walk by,” she says. “It affects me in that sense because we count traffic through our door and our homeless population is right outside our back door.”

Hayley Stevens, owner of Saratoga Tea & Honey Co., said she hasn’t seen the survey yet, but she’s “happy to receive it.”

She said she was too busy to comment further on the topic Friday.

Duane Vaughn, executive director of Saratoga Shelters, said he hopes the study will be used to determine ways to help the homeless.

“I talked to the DBA and they were very helpful,” he said. “SOS should be an asset to the community, an asset to the businesses, so if you need our help, we’re here.”

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