[Hpn] Helping The Homeless Survive

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 15 Feb 2005 20:34:04 -0500


 www.13WHAM.com

Helping The Homeless Survive

Patrice Walsh (Rochester, NY) 02/15/05 -

Many of the homeless are out on the
street every night, and even though shelters are available many don't follow
rules or keep curfews.

Once a month they get a visit from Rochester Police and social service
workers who bring them help.

Jeff Bright sleeps in a downtown parking garage every night. He said, "It's
warm, nobody bothers me…especially on weekends, I can sleep all day. I have
a drug problem, I'm not going to bother with a job until I can stop doing
drugs…I'm waiting for a bed at the Canandaigua VOA right now."

Once every month the help they won't get for themselves, seeks them out.
Workers from the Department of Social Services, Rochester Police and members
of Saint Mary's Church find the homeless and offer them food, shelter and
clothes.

Sometimes convincing the homeless to leave the famaliarity of their places
in underground parking lots and under bridges is not easy, but eventually,
most agree to get help.

One social worker said, "Even if we give them a night off the street I think
it's very valuable." Once the transportation van is full, the homeless are
taken to the Cadillac Hotel where they'll spend the night.

The Department of Social Services will identify what other services are
available to them on a long term basis. Workers try to get them into
programs, knowing that many of them don't know how to get help.

Some will be back out again the very next night, but others use the help to
get off drugs and off the street.

When homeless people don't seek shelter, they put themselves at risk in very
cold weather. They are also in danger because of recent attacks by a group
called “Bum Bashers. ”  The bashers assaulted one homeless man who may lose
eyesight because of the attack.

Since13WHAM News first reported on Rochester’s homeless, Rochester police
have received three tips to the Crime Stoppers hotline. They are still
looking for information to arrest the suspects.

Anyone with information about the "Bum Bashers" is asked to call Crime
Stoppers at (585) 423-9300. You could get a cash reward if your tip leads to
an arrest, and you don't have to give your name.