Northern Westchester's only homeless shelter in danger of losing space
The Jan Peek House in Peekskill is in danger of losing its home at the end of the month because its lease is up.
The homeless shelter located on North Water Street is the only shelter in Northern Westchester and is operated by nonprofit Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill.
"I truly do believe our community and our elected officials understand how vital these services are," said Cynthia Knox, CEO of Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill.
Knox said the shelter is providing warm beds this holiday season for about a dozen people - including veterans, domestic violence survivors and young people who have aged out of foster care.
She said the lease ends Dec. 31 and that they are currently in negotiations with the landlord but concerned about a 12% rent increase.
Knox showed News 12 around the building that hasn't been renovated since 1988 and pointed out leaks in the roof and a kitchen without a stove - as well as worn floors, walls and supporting beams for the roof.
As lease negotiations continue, Knox is also thinking about the shelter's future.
A plan to build a 20,000-square-foot shelter on Lower South Street appears to no longer be a viable option.
News 12 spoke with Peekskill Mayor Vivian McKenzie who said the city is committed to helping the nonprofit find a long-term home.
"Whatever they decide to do, we are definitely behind them and support them - but the city doesn't have any property we can turn over to them nor does the city fund anything like that," she explained.
Lawmakers, including state Sen. Pete Harckham, are searching for solutions. This year, he appropriated $50,000 in state funds for the shelter.
"We have to have a place for our unhoused," he said.
News 12 reached the landlord for the building on North Water Street, but he did not get back to us with a comment.