Advocates seek shelter for homeless in garage
Updated: Tuesday, March 4 2014, 03:09 PM EST
by Patrice Walsh
Rochester, N.Y. -- On any given night there are 30 homeless men sleeping in the Civic Center Garage and some even stay through the day. 13WHAM found five men asleep in the garage late Thursday morning.
Security patrols hired by the county will ask homeless to leave during daytime hours but there are no patrols at night. Even so, Richard Bell, the Chairman of the LDC that operates the garage told 13WHAM the county doesn’t want the homeless using the garage as a shelter.
There are no immediate plans to evict the homeless during this bitter cold weather, but it is something Sister Grace Miller feels could happen. Miller says she met recently with Mayor Lovely Warren and her staff to discuss finding another building to house the homeless who sleep in the garage. She said the city seemed willing to help but the building Sister Grace had in mind would require a change in zoning. She said the city also had some suggestions for buildings that could be used. Miller said she will also ask the county for help to run the shelter.
Right now her main concern is keeping the homeless safe and warm during this cold winter weather. She said she will protest and even get arrested if any steps are taken to evict the homeless during these dangerous temperatures. She is asking the county for time to find somewhere else for them to go.
We spoke to one of the men who sleeps in the garage. His name is Roosevelt. He told us he has no place else to go but would have to find something, if security kicks him out of the garage. He told us he had family issues and has tried staying in local shelters, but it didn’t work out.
Sister Grace said one other problem is that in this bitter weather, the other shelters fill up and aren’t even an option for some of Rochester’s homeless. She said the House of Mercy takes many people in when they have nowhere to go. But even they are only allowed to provide emergency shelter to 19 people.