City aims to curtail homeless camps and drug activity on Loomis Street with fence

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – If you walk down Loomis street in Rochester you’ll notice a large homeless population, several tents and drugs. It’s a story WHEC has been covering for months now regarding the encampment issue. It has not only become an area for the homeless, but it’s also become a hub for drug use and sales.

Monday afternoon, Rochester City Attorney Linda Kingsley announced a fence going up on Loomis street to address the problem.

“Should people be living there if Person Centered Housing Options feels it’s too dangerous to send their workers there,” said Kingsley.

According to Kingsley, she said they expect contractors to have a fence up in the next few weeks.

“If you go out there and look around, there are needles everywhere. We own this land, how do we sit there and allow this to happen on our land?”

The area they’re fencing off is equivalent to about five or six house lots.

“Once the fence is up, it’s going to be a difficult fence just to scale,” she said. “I think once the fence is up, that should be the end of the situation at that location. Obviously, that doesn’t solve our bigger problem,” she said.

The bigger problem being the drug activity.

She said through it all, it hasn’t been an easy process.

“One of the frustrations was this morning, and this is not to paint all advocates with the same brush; it is simply the advocate groups that were out there this morning. They were advising them not to leave the site and advising them that they didn’t have to leave the site,” Kingsley said.

Kingsley said, though county leaders and other advocates have been out there on numerous occasions to offer help to those in need, they’ve come up short.

“The county has been there on many occasions, a half dozen that I know of to offer different housing options to people,” she said. “Most of the time they come away with not one taker.”

Now the sudden move to put up a fence and move people out, is leaving some with nowhere else to go.

“They say we are here by choice, that is impossible,” said one homeless man who didn’t want to be identified. “Who is ever on the street by choice?” he said. “Who wants to stay in the cold by choice; no one, not that I know of. Nobody with any common sense.”

Articles on Loomis Street below: