Councilmember introduces legislation to improve Rochester homeless encampment

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UPDATE: Rochester City Council President Miguel Melendez has introduced legislation to help improve Peace Village, the city-sanctioned homeless encampment in Rochester, by contracting with Pallet Shelter for Homeless. The organization builds small housing units.

The non-profit Person Centered Housing Options would oversee and maintain the improvements. To fund the project, Melendez wants to use $750,000 of the Police Accountability Board’s unspent funds.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Advocates for the homeless now have a way to provide shelter to people who choose to live on the streets here in Rochester.

News10NBC takes a look at the city’s Peace Village and the new shelters that will soon be added to the homeless encampment.

Groups like Homes 4 the Homeless and Person Centered Housing Options have been helping people find housing and get back on their feet.

“This camp started off because we asked for a place where the homeless people could pitch their tents and not be trespassing or in violation of some city ordinance about camping,” said Homes 4 the Homeless founder Michael Gill.

He wants to get as many people off the streets and into shelters like the ones you’ll find at Peace Village. Located on Industrial Street, these tiny homes are named “Shelter 2.0” and are donated by a couple of organizations in Monroe County.

“You know there’s a roof over your head and a pillow under it, but it’s not a permanent location,” said Gill. “It’s just a transitional pod, is what we call them in the field to get you off the street.”

Currently, about eight people call Peace Village home. Besides a safe place to stay, Persons Centered Housing Option’s Nicholas Coulter says they also receive important services from both the city and county.

“We provide food daily,” said Coulter. “We go to different soup kitchens and deliver meals. We have volunteer groups that come out and provide clothing and other items. We will also do case management services where we will bring people to doctor’s appointments, health care appointments, mental health, and substance use treatment.”

There’s currently a plan to add about 20 tiny homes to the encampment. His team will work with interested homeless people to explore potential openings.

“They should give us a call, talk to our Outreach Team at 585-736-HOME (4663), and let us know that they’re interested, and we’ll come out and do outreach with them first, and then if we have an opening, we’ll bring them over,” said Coulter.

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