JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — Many Jamestown residents have been underwhelmed with the city’s response to the growing homeless population. And now, some plan to take to the street in protest.
Starting Friday at 9 a.m., those with Patriots for Chautauqua County plan to gather outside of Jamestown City Hall to raise awareness about the growing problem.
“We’re going to be protesting about the lack of response from city officials for the homeless community. There’s roughly around 100 homeless in the Jamestown area and all of our shelters are jam packed and the only thing they were able to do is 18 beds which was originally supposed to be 28, now it’s down to 18 beds that are emergency beds. They go in at night and are kicked out at nine in the morning unless it’s below 32 degrees outside,” explains Daniel Bass, co-founder of Patriots for Chautauqua County.
Earlier this month, the second of two emergency homeless shelters opened at Jamestown’s Gateway Center on Water Street. Managed by the Mental Health Association, the site only opened at half capacity after a months long delay in development.
“The Comedy Center went up with five million dollars of state money, they’re throwing another $400,000 into it in the midst of people freezing to death outside.People exposed to the elements, people severely addicted to drugs due to whatever reason got them onto it. And all this money they keep throwing all around the city, the lights down at the river, etc can simply be put into one little property,” reasons Bass.
Bass argues that an unnecessary amount of money is allocated towards downtown revitalization and tourism, when not enough is being done for those who actually live here. Many local community groups, however, strive to do what they can to help.
“Seth Viticus from House Viticus, me and him have been meeting for the past five months to try and get something going and Bonnie from Be the Change You Want to See in Jamestown, you can find her on Facebook. She has been doing all sorts of giveaways to the homeless for quite a while now, so when we found her we definitely joined all of our forces together to start doing actual routes where the homeless people tend to be so we can give out goodie bags, soap, whatever they may need,” says Bass.
Those looking to join in the fight for the city’s homeless can connect with Bass on his Facebook page: “Citizens for Community Change.” Donations of supplies or money are also welcome.