Albany Sheriff Craig Apple had a vision to end homelessness in the Capital Region and with guidance from HATAS (Homeless and Travelers Aid Society) and other community partners, the Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Project (SHIP) was born. After learning about this initiative and touring the facility, SEFCU President & CEO Michael Castellana and Chief Community Officer Kathy Lanni saw this unique approach to serve and support the homeless in our community. As a result, SEFCU enthusiastically signed on to support the program which officially opened on Monday, April 22.
SHIP utilizes newly renovated former jail cells to be single occupancy rooms for individuals who are currently homeless and needing shelter as well as individuals re-entering civilian life when they are released from jail under the homeless coalition task force. “This program is unique because unlike some shelters that require a person to leave during the daytime hours, this shelter encourages guests to ‘stay in’ and take advantage of the in-house wrap around services, such as counseling, workforce readiness, and educational programming, that sets an individual up for success to find employment and transition into permanent housing," Lanni said.
SEFCU’s support of this project is the perfect combination of donating time, talent, and treasure to support our community. In early March, SEFCU supported the project with a grant to purchase the flooring and other necessary items to transform the facility to single occupancy private rooms. SEFCU also outfitted the shelter’s computer lab by donating five Apple workstations and a printer to enable guests to access educational and workforce readiness programming to help prepare them for employment. In addition, SEFCU’s Renovate That! volunteer team will be providing some finishing touches at the shelter with furniture and decorations.