Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Pittsfield Housing Authority offers vacant space for outreach programs and police use

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Albany/HV: Pittsfield Housing Authority offers vacant space for outreach programs and police use
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The Pittsfield Housing Authority, mayor's office and police department are working together on a new public safety initiative in the city. YNN's Madeleine Rivera brings us the details.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Some vacant apartments in four housing complexes will soon be occupied, but not with the tenants you think. The spaces will be used for outreach programs and for police to use.

"We feel that if we bring it directly to them, they can take advantage of it also," said Charlie Smith, Pittsfield Housing Authority Executive Director.

The Pittsfield Housing Authority, the mayor's office and the police department are collaborating on a new initiative, to increase police presence in the city while also offering wellness programs to residents.

"If the police are right here, it gives the tenants a little more safer feeling, it allows them to communicate directly with them, rather than having them go to the police station, where they might feel more intimidated," said Smith.

"I think it's a good idea, especially for this housing project because we have a lot of kids living here and that would be good, especially to teach them like safety and how to play properly and keep their minds busy," said Yandelin Santana, a resident at one of the housing complexes.

The programs are still under development. But the city is planning to use the spaces as meeting sites for crime watches, art classes for children and emergency shelters for displaced tenants. Because the Housing Authority is providing the space for these programs, it's at no expense to the city.

Residents are looking forward to when these programs will be offered. Santana will be making sure her two kids will take advantage of these opportunities.

The other apartments should be ready for use later this year.

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