ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The City of Rochester announced Monday morning they are shutting down the area of a homeless encampment on Loomis Street.
Linda Kingsley, the corporation counsel for the City of Rochester, said that a company will be building a fence around the site, adding that the area is dangerous and that a death took place in the area Sunday night. The medical examiner’s office is still working to determine cause of death.
Rochester Police said they were on scene to keep things peaceful and in order. A spokesperson for the department said officers have been on scene for months, ‘consistently offering options’ to residents who live there.
In a case and desist letter, city officials said they do not intend to permanently remove the individuals. But rather, clear out the site so the fence installation may proceed without incident and without harm to the contractors or individuals on the property.
“There was a death over the weekend, which we don’t know the cause yet,” said Kingsley. “People living out in the elements is a risk, people using drugs is a risk, there was a stabbing there a few months ago,” Kingsley said.
Kingsley said they are offering options to residents, with help from Monroe County Department of Human Services. Some of those options include House of Mercy, Open Door Mission, Person Centered Housing Options and Huther Doyle.
“The bottom line is if you go there and look around, there are needles everywhere. There are women who leave that site under — what we can only assume — are sex trafficking to pay for their drugs circumstances.”
If people continue to live in the area even with the fence up, according to Kingsley, the city will charge them with trespassing.
The City of Rochester is in the process of putting the vacant area for proposals.
Kingsley also said the city has been working with multiple non-profit organizations and advocacy groups, adding that they were aware this shutdown was coming. She said there are other options being offered to the residents, and some do not accept those offers for treatment and shelter.
Kingsley said a cease-and-desist order has been issued, following some advocates encouraging civilians to stay at the encampment.
The fence could be finalized as soon as a few weeks, officials said.