ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Despite a healthy economy homelessness in our area is on the rise. That’s according to national and local advocates for the homeless. Here at home, a local shelter is receiving a big boost in funding to combat the problem.
On any given night around 800 people in Monroe County have no place to call home.
“I made some bad choices and August 18th of this year I found myself really out on the street with no one else to count on,” said John McGuirk, one of Monroe County’s homeless.
At the same time they’re facing budget cuts shelters like Open Door Mission are seeing more people like McGuirk. Executive Director Anna Valeria-Iseman says they’re seeing more people with untreated mental illness and drug addiction. She also blames underemployment. Where they work but don’t make enough to keep a home.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Valeria-Iseman. “I have been doing this work for over 10 years and I have not seen the numbers like this.”
The mission takes in more than 70 people a night. That is way over their 48-bed capacity.
“Some sit in chairs just as a warming site,” said Chuck Brady, Manager Open Door Mission. “They just sit in the chairs. We utilize everything that we have.”
The Dimitri House, a local shelter, has been working for several years on a permanent solution.
“Instead of just basically sheltering people the goal is to get people into their own housing settings,” said Laurie Jones Prizel, Executive Director of the Dimitri House.
Well. Dimitri will not get just over a million in state funding to build six one bedroom apartments inside one of their buildings. They will serve as transitional housing.
“Sometimes people just need to kind of pick them up, brush them off and give them another opportunity with some additional support to be successful in their own permanent housing, ” said Prizel.
The Dimitri House will be renovating a 100-year-old building that use to be a boarding house. Prizel says it took them 4 years to get the state funding.
The funds are coming from the state’s Homeless Housing and Assistance Program. It provides capital grants and loans to non-profit and charitable organizations to build brand new homes or rehab old ones for the homeless.