Today is February 27, 2024 -

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Temple Beth El

Offering Conservative Jewish worship since 1935

83 Chestnut Street/POBox 383
Oneonta, NY 13820
Phone: (607) 432-5522

Social Action Committee

Multiple community organizations have been meeting for several months regarding the problem of homelessness, made worse in cold weather, with the goal of creating overnight shelter. The Department of Social Services and Opportunities for Otsego can place people in shelters or motels, but some people do not or cannot use these options. Recently, a subcommittee of faith communities met, and I represented Temple Beth El. Lynn Gluekert, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, chaired the meeting, noting that Catholic Charities saw 47 people in January and 23 people in February who needed overnight shelter, including 2 people who were sharing 1 sleeping bag outside. Reverend Marti Swords-Herrald from First United Methodist Church discussed a successful overnight shelter in Troy, where she previously served, and suggested that the coordinator from the Troy shelter could instruct this group. The Salvation Army on River Street in Oneonta has a room available, with cots, from 8 PM to 7 or 8 AM, which is used for other purposes during the day. There would need to be a staff coordinator, volunteers would have to be trained, and rules would be determined, including no drugs or alcohol. Congregations would be asked to supply volunteers, food and other donations. While the need is immediate, the group recognized that this could take at least several months to implement.


Debra Marcus