PEEKSKILL, N.Y. - The Jan Peek House homeless shelter has been without power since Saturday evening and has been forced to be evacuated.
Caring for the Homeless of Peekskill Director Jeanne Blum, who oversees the shelter, said a utility pole holding a large transformer snapped during the snowstorm and crashed to the ground on North Water Street in front of the shelter.
Numerous calls to 911 went unanswered until the following day, when the fire department placed police tape across the area to block passage, Blum said. Hazmat units were dispatched later in the day on Sunday to clean up the hazardous material that had leaked from the transformer. More tape was placed across the area containing the downed electrical wires, tree branches and utility pole."
"Con Edison still has been unable to dispatch repair crews to the scene," Blum said, "and the area remains dangerous, with fallen electrical wires and tree branches blocking the roadway and we are unable to determine when Con Ed will be able to make repairs."
Blum said shelter residents and staff waited out the weekend in the cold and dark, making the best of the situation by having coffee and donuts early Sunday morning and arranging for a local vendor to deliver hot meals on Sunday and Monday.
By Monday evening, all arrangements had been made with area shelters and Westchester County Department of Social Services to move residents to shelters in White Plains. However, many were unable to go due to work or family obligations, she said.
We are unsure when the power will be restored, Blum said. We were told Wednesday, but Wednesday came and went.
Peekskill Department of Public Works Director Howard Wessells said Thursday that the area of North Water Street is one of the last few areas in the city without power, and that nearby traffic lights at Annsville Circle and on Route 9 also needed to be restored. Wessells said Con Edison told him all 50 city customers without power should be restored by Friday at midnight.
But Blum said that Jan Peek should have been treated like any other home since its residents are among the neediest in the city.
The city has told us that Con Edison's focus is on getting power back to the homes that have people living in them without heat and lights, Blum said. I remind people that Jan Peek House is a home where people actually live, and who have also lost lights and heat. Their needs are not less than others' in the area."
"Our residents don't necessarily have family or friends they can stay with. They can't afford a motel room. They don't have memberships to health clubs where they can shower. They don't have neighbors who can help them out, she added.
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