December 17, 2019

City Mission of Schenectady Unveils Newest Transitional Housing Units

City Mission of Schenectady unveiled eight new transitional housing units, intended to help people rebuild their lives, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 297 Lafayette St. The eight apartments at the corner of Smith and Lafayette streets supplement City Mission’s 24 other transitional housing units that help formerly homeless individuals access supportive housing as they build a better future for themselves and their families.

In the spring, the Mission will finish renovating two additional apartments, which will bring the total number of transitional housing apartments it operates to 34.

“We are committed to providing hard-working individuals with access to affordable housing and ongoing support as they build a better future for themselves and their families,” said Michael Saccocio, City Mission CEO and executive director. “Stable housing also helps them build their capacity to serve as community leaders.

The transitional housing units are intended for mission graduates who are single adults or single parents with children who are overcoming a variety of challenges that led them to homelessness, including domestic violence, chronic poverty, and substance abuse. They have to have made sufficient progress and be able to live on their own in a supportive environment. With proximity to the City Mission, the apartments allow residents to live independently but have as much assistance as they need right across the street, giving them a network of support as they start jobs and access resources to help them work towards long-term sustainability. Transitional housing residents are often graduates of Bridges to Freedom, the Mission’s long-term life skills training program.

Bridges to Freedom, which is a 12 to 15 month program, addresses the reasons behind why someone is homeless. Volunteers and staff facilitate group classes and take a holistic approach to strengthening each area of participants’ lives (physical health, financial well-being, spiritual and relational health). Participants work with employment coaches to create a place for future work with a goal of helping men and women find healing from their past and hope for the future.

“Transitional housing gives people access to a network of support as they are beginning new jobs so they have appropriate resources to be stable for the long term,” Saccocio said.

While living in City Mission apartments, residents are required to participate in money management classes and be employed; the goal is to prepare them to graduate from traditional housing in a few years.

With the apartments in such close proximity to City Mission, which is located on the same block, City Mission shelter residents are exposed to success stories on a regular basis. “They see other men and women overcoming homelessness and getting back on their feet and headed to a successful future and that is a powerful example for them,” said Saccocio.