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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – There has been a noticeable uptick in the amount of homeless people in the City of Jamestown, and local leaders are trying to figure out the right solution.
There could be many reasons that someone is homeless, as of late, officials tell us that many are on the streets now after being evicted for renting problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some of the reason that we are seeing such a steep increase in homelessness is because the eviction moratorium was lifted,“ explained Director of Development Crystal Surdyk. “So now that eviction court is back open, and people who were housed are no longer housed. We’ve also seen an influx of people from other areas, we understand a lot of people are coming down from Buffalo.”
While there are many resources available to anyone who is homeless, such as a slew of non for profits ready to help. Many are not willing to accept the hand out, and all the terms and conditions that come with it.
“Because of their funding, they have certain restrictions and obligations to what they can and can not do,” said Chair of the Housing Committee Marie Carrubba. “It doesn’t mean people are not out there trying, it’s just that there are people sometimes that in spite of everyone’s best efforts, refuse all the help because they do not want to follow the rules.”
Lately, we’ve seen an increase in homeless gathering under bridges and places like the railroad viaduct on Main Street Downtown. While police ask them to disperse, Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the solution is not as simple as just moving people out.
“We have had times where we have moved individuals out of areas,“ explained Mayor Eddie Sundquist. “But keep in mind every time we ship someone out of an area, they go somewhere else.”
In the end, there’s no perfect retort on how to solve the homeless situation in Jamestown.
“We are working on it, we are working diligently on it,“ stated Mayor Sundquist. “I don’t have a good answer, and the more I talk to other mayors that have done this in areas that have a much larger homeless population under much larger bridges and areas. They don’t have a good answer either, so we’re trying the best we can to support those folks as well as protect those areas.”
Currently the City of Jamestown is trying to work with the county’s homelessness coalition to help support the homeless population locally. There are also plans in the works to build two new shelters downtown, which could help provide temporary housing for those in need.
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