New investments are being made at the Rochester Public Library
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — On any given night, there are more than 700 people without homes in Monroe County — according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
The Rochester Public Library on South Avenue has been a haven for those experiencing homelessness, with services to get them the resources and supplies they need. Now the City is trying to expand that program.
The weather is getting colder, and the library offers those experiencing homelessness a way to escape the elements and keep occupied. So, outreach agencies have made their way to them, setting up in the library a few times a week.
But that’s proved to not be enough.
That’s why the City is making new investments to support homeless families at the library.
The two agencies that have been volunteering there, MC Collaborative and Person Center Housing Options, work primarily with individuals.
“We’ve been able to spend nine years meeting with people, no barriers, no eligibility requirements. If someone wants boots, we’ll get them boots. If they want housing, we’ll get them housing. So it’s been a really neat experience,” Cofounder of MC Collaborative Andy Carey said.
Person Center Housing Options told News10NBC that they help about 40 un-housed people during the two hours they’re there a week.
“We’re able to get people connections to food pantry health care providers. We do a lot of assistance with helping people maintain their benefits. We connect people to New York State DMV in order to get an I.D., which oftentimes is a big step. And being able to get, you know, different services or get connected,” CFO for Person Center Housing Options Jeanella Coleman-Grimes said.
But now the City wants to invest in an agency specifically for families.
“So, what we really want to do is we have families who come here. And, you know, a lot of times they’re here all day, especially when they’re is in school, you know. So in the summer, we would have families who would come from the time we opened till the time we closed. And through building relationships with them, we realize that there are different needs that they had and that all of their needs can be met by us,” said Tonia Burton, a Children’s Services Consultant at the Rochester Public Library.
Both agencies that are there now are there voluntarily. But with these new investments from the City, both will be receiving a paid, formal contract to keep them there. The City is continuing to look for the right agency to help with the unhoused families that spend time at the library.