Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association seeks input on homeless, panhandling

Saratoga Springs – Businesses in downtown Saratoga Springs are being asked to complete a survey on the impact homeless people and beggars have had on their businesses.

In a survey conducted by the Downtown Business Association, respondents who remained anonymous said:You can choose to remain anonymous, but your name, company, and email are very helpful at the end of the survey to best represent the DBA’s findings. ”

The survey asks 9 questions. Some questions include follow-up questions such as: Does Homelessness Affect Employees? Negative or Positive? Please provide details in 3a below.

The survey also allows owners to provide videos and photos.

“The purpose of this research is to gather information from the business community and provide this information. [the] Heidi West, vice president of DBA, said in an email.

She said there was growing concern among members about the homeless population.

“The voice of our business community matters, and this survey is one tool to ensure that our voice is heard.” Formed to address the ongoing concerns of visitors: RISE, Shelters of Saratoga, Franklin Community Center, Wellspring and other organizations that are part of the Saratoga County continuum of care We are working with organizations to work compassionately to solve problems that may arise around the non-housing population.”

In October the city council heard from many residents who opposed the begging ordinance. Prohibition of soliciting in various parts of the city, including within 20 feet of an ATM. In parking lots, parking lots, train stations, or sidewalks adjacent to such areas, or in any areas of public skyways, alleys, or tunnels. The council does not vote on ordinances.

Public Safety Commissioner James Montanino said there are no plans to reopen at this time.

Catherine Hamilton, owner of the Putnam Market, said she had seen the survey but had not taken it. She said she lives with the homeless every day.

“A few years ago they were pretty rowdy,” she said. “It’s scary for people using unfamiliar parking lots right now, but they tend to stay around the parking lot.”

She said personally that she would greet them when she went to her car or when she got out of it.

“They know they shouldn’t ask for money because I never give them money. I treat them like human beings. They are very kind to me.” ‘ she said.

She said that in general they had no problems either.

“You come here, and every time you come here there are some people who steal, and you say, ‘I can’t go back here anymore,'” she said.

She said she hasn’t had any problems, but that it raises concerns for people who are unfamiliar with them or who come from the area.

“They come to the city. Some people get scared when they park their car in a parking lot because sometimes they have to walk past drunk people and expensive people demanding money,” she said. I was. “In that respect, I am affected because we expect traffic through our doors and the homeless population is right outside our back door.”

Hayley Stevens, owner of Saratoga Tea & Honey Co., said she hadn’t seen the survey yet, but said she would be happy to take it.

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

Duane Vaughn, executive director of the Saratoga Shelter, said he hopes the survey will be used to determine how to help the homeless.

“I spoke with the DBAs and they were very helpful to us,” he said. “SOS should be a community asset and a business asset. So if they need our help, we are here.”

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