Homeless shelter to remain open; Jefferson County unsure how long

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It came just shy of a month ago. Local business owner PJ Simao, donating his – not currently in use – auto body shop in Watertown as a place where the local homeless population could get out of the cold and snow this winter.

Many had been setting up tents in a city pavilion.

It was a gift that some local city leaders – who have been working to find the homeless something more permanent – the type of facility the region doesn’t have – found incredibly special.

“Without this building, we wouldn’t have had a solution for the pavilion and those people would have been homeless and maybe in greater danger without this,” Watertown City Councilor Cliff Olney said.

In addition, Olney, a Watertown City Councilor, says Simao’s offer included some upgrades — including power, heat, lighting, bathrooms, showers and most importantly time.

It would be available to use the for the entire winter – even longer if needed and it comes at a time, the city – Olney says – lacks much needed affordable housing. As many as 34 people have been staying here at once.

“This right here offers them the bridge to get to that and a place where the workers from the county can come in and process paperwork and get them into permanent housing, offer them medical services an other things and also they have a place to eat and they have a safe, warm place to sleep at night,” he added.

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