Protestors continue to advocate for Rochester's homeless

Updated: 08/29/2014 6:27 PM
Created: 08/29/2014 3:12 PM WHEC.com

Protestors were once again fighting for housing for the homeless in Rochester.

On Friday, a group of supporters rallied in front of the Monroe County Office Building, calling on officials to take action.

Housing is a human right. That’s what protestors were chanting on Main Street, asking the county to provide more shelter for the city’s homeless.

“What it means is everyone has a right, everyone has a human right to have a home,” said Gail O’Dell, homeless advocate.

Mrsl Morales knows what it’s like to be without one.

“It’s rough out here. It’s rough. You don’t know if you’re going to be robbed, if you’re going to be raped. You don’t know what’s going to happen to you,” she said.

John Sharpe is homeless.

“It’s terrible. Terrible. Scary. I fall down to the ground because I’m so tired,” Sharpe said.

This protest comes a week after a popular place for the city’s homeless to sleep, the Civic Center Garage, closed its doors to them.

Homeless advocates say they needed more time to find housing, but the garage owner says he gave advocates more than enough time to find a new place to stay.

Now, we’re told the homeless are living in other spots throughout the city.

“I found them at the Washington Square Park. I found them along the expressway, at Broadway and Meigs and some are at the lake,” said Sister Grace Miller from the Mercy House.

Several area shelters say they have room for those currently living on the street, but advocates say there aren’t enough beds, and we need another county-run shelter.

“The city and the county have the money. They’re the ones who can help us, and they’re the ones who need to step forward,” said O’Dell.

Morales hopes something opens before it gets too cold.

“I hope to see better places than the Cadillac Hotel for people. I hope to see shelters for people. If they can afford to build downtown up, they can afford to give these people a place to stay,” Morales said.

Advocates are also asking the county to quickly release its plan on how to house the homeless people here.

A county spokesperson released the following statement:

“Monroe County invests nearly $5 million and contracts with 17 shelters for emergency housing placements each year, all while operating a state-leading demonstration project to help reach the chronically homeless. The county is proud of its work to improve outcomes for those affected and will continue to partner with respected local shelters and service providers moving forward.”

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