Friday, December 19, 2014

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Saratoga County

People go to extreme lengths to stay warm

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Albany/HV: People go to extreme lengths to stay warm
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Police say a homeless man broke several windows at the Rensselaer County Clerk's Office, causing thousands of dollars in damage, in an attempt to get arrested and taken to jail where it's warm. Our Maria Valvanis has the story.

TROY, N.Y. -- Troy Police Captain John Cooney said, "The subject made admissions to officers that his reason for his destructive actions was simply that he needed a warm place to go."

Officers say they aren't surprised by 30-year-old Jamine Makepeace's desperate attempt to get warm. They say he broke windows on cars and the Rensselaer County Clerk's Office, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, in hopes of being arrested. For the people who run homeless shelters, they say desperate times call for desperate measures.

Joseph's House and Shelter Director Tracy Netizel said, "That's not uncommon, and that's what we're used to seeing in the winter time. People getting themselves arrested so that they would have someplace to stay, people getting themselves hospitalized, people do all kinds of things to survive.'

But Tracy Netizel is hoping the Joseph's House and Shelter can help people. She's had crews searching the city all day looking for anyone on the streets to take in, even though the shelter is already past capacity.

"We have room for five families at a time. We have five families here tonight with children. We have an eight-bed shelter for women, but we have more than eight women tonight. We have a 13-bed shelter for men, but we have more than 13 here tonight," said Netizel.

The shelter made arrangements with the St. Anthony's Church to have 10 people stay there, in case any more people show up. If there's no room left at Joseph's House, many people have no other options.

Jazmine Carthens said, "The last place I was at in Albany would not accept me because I'm homosexual and also because I cross dress; so I'm glad this place doesn't ask about background and doesn't discriminate."

"We don't ask any questions, we don't judge them, we don't question what happened," said Netizel.

Joseph's House wants to remind people they aren't turning anyone away in the cold weather. As for Jamine Makepeace, police say he could spend several winters in jail. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP