Molinaro Orders PODs at Dutchess County Jail
to be Repurposed as Emergency Shelters

Ongoing State of Emergency Declaration in response to
rising cases of Coronavirus in Dutchess County

Poughkeepsie… As part of Dutchess County Government’s ongoing response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 health emergency, County Executive Marcus Molinaro has issued an emergency order allowing the previously vacant temporary housing units (PODs) at the Dutchess County Law Enforcement Center and Jail campus to be repurposed as emergency shelters for those in need starting this evening.

County Executive Molinaro said, “We are repurposing the vacant PODs at the Law Enforcement Center and Jail campus to be used as shelters for the homeless. We are utilizing every resource at our disposal to respond quickly and effectively to this rapidly evolving health situation. Since social distancing is almost impossible at most homeless shelters, we can use the dormitory-style PODs to help create necessary space to help prevent the further spread of this illness and increase our ability to respond to cases within the homeless population as needed. We are grateful to Andrew O’Grady at Mental Health America, Christa Hines at Hudson River Housing, and Brian Riddell at Dutchess Outreach for making this need come to fruition and to Sheriff Butch Anderson for his swift action to open the PODs to the community during this emergency.”

Dutchess County has partnered with Hudson River Housing (HRH) and Mental Health America (MHA) to operate one of the two modular, dormitory-style buildings, which will be divided into male and female sections, allowing for more social distancing among the shelter clients. The facility has a capacity for up to 100 individuals, including 48 female beds and 52 male beds. The County has also partnered with Dutchess Outreach to provide food service.

There is a separate entrance to the property for shelter clients and staff, with physical barriers between the shelter and the jail for additional security. If needed, an additional POD will be opened as an alternate care facility should any homeless individual need treatment or care.

This executive order follows the County Executive’s recent State of Emergency declaration, which allows for the designation of emergency shelters, medical shelters, and community-based care centers.

Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson said, “We believe in treating others the way we would like to be treated. The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office is proud to help support our community, especially during this difficult time.”

The PODs were opened in 2015 to temporarily house inmates previously boarded in other counites as a cost savings measure. The PODs have been vacant since early January following the County’s significant work to reduce the population at the Jail through restorative justice programs and the implementation of the State’s Bail Reform legislation.