Non-profits seek help for homeless battling addiction after encampment dispersed

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — Members of the Recovery All Ways and Person Centered Housing Options are concerned a recent neighborhood uplift operation on a homeless encampment off Loomis St. disrupted their system to treat those battling addiction while on the streets.  

These non-profits explain with many people not having a home to go to while suffering from drug addiction it was easy to bring not only food and clothes to them but also pass out Narcan kits to save them from an overdose. Since the encampment was broken down those resources are not so easy to find.  

One week since the encampment off Loomis St. was broken up, volunteers like Stephanie Forrester have noticed the results have been dangerous for a few who have nowhere to go while being an addict.  

“We have a confirmed three from the Loomis Street that we’re living there that overdosed,” Forrester of Recovery All Ways told us. “We do not know if any of them have passed away. We know one survived.”  

In a statement, the City of Rochester explained they “Received complaints from neighbors about debris, trash, and evidence of illegal drug activity. The number of debris and trash was so significant the city could not get its equipment onto the lots.” Stephanie argues they took care of the property.  

“We have been cleaning up there every Saturday,” Forrester continued. “We picked up the needles and since we were contacted with Person Centered Housing, we went there daily to do this as well.”  

The City of Rochester went on to state the occupants were offered alternative housing and other services several weeks in advance. Volunteers argued they did not get the final message until 24 hours before the operation began.  

“It can be a really challenging situation for those folks and we need everybody to come together,” Nicholas Coulter of Person Center Housing Options said. “To create an environment where we are including those folks and we are supplying them with treatment to get them into permanent housing.”  

A few homeless men who returned to the lot on Loomis explained to us in the end they just ask for help to return to their families healthy.  

“My baby mother died from an overdose of drugs and my daughter witnessed it,” Fernando Santiago, a homeless man battling addiction said. “I wouldn’t want her to witness if something happened to me, so I just stay away from them.”  

in a rush to get all their stuff volunteers for the homeless organizations to grab what they could in bags and are now sitting in warehouses until they get claimed. They added y is working closely with the city and county to figure out their next move for those without a home. 

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