As the Pittsfield officials grapple with homelessness solutions, the appointment of a reworked Homeless Advisory Committee yields hope.
"We are eager to have the new Homeless Advisory Committee get started," Mayor Linda Tyer said on Tuesday as 15 appointments were made to the new advisory committee.
Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Maffuccio brought two petitions to City Council on Tuesday calling for an investigation into conditions at the temporary shelter at former St. Joseph's School and challenging the city"s policy of evicting the encampment at Springside Park.
Mayor Linda Tyer this week said the city of Pittsfield is feeling discouraged from the lack of community organizations willing to host a warming shelter that will house homeless individuals during the hours that the St. Joseph's temporary winter shelter on Maplewood Avenue is closed.
The commission will be evacuating the park by Dec. 1 in hopes these individuals will choose to relocate to the recently reopened COVID-19 shelter at the former St. Joseph's high school on Maplewood Avenue.
The committee on Thursday heard from a number of sources on the issue, including Community Development Director Deanna Ruffer, who said the city has been working agencies to define what type of project would work for a homeless population whose needs have changed.
The council approved an amended ordinance earlier in the month creating a Homeless Advisory Committee that better clarifies the group's purpose, reporting requirements and advocacy for funding sources.
In response, commission unanimously approved to resolution urging Mayor Linda Tyer and the City Council to draft a housing first policy as a fundamental human right given to individuals before they are expected to clean up their lives.
The council unanimously sent the group of petitions, signed by Councilors Dina Guiel Lampiasi and Earl Persip, on Tuesday demanding some answers from the committee that has met infrequently since the pandemic began.
And now Honig and a group of other regular contributors on the page are targeting one specific need in the community: resources for those without housing stability. That grew from a post on the page where someone was searching for a tent to provide shelter while they were without permanent housing.