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Homeless in CNY: Combating homelessness and finding solutions

World Homeless Day is Oct. 10 and this week United Way is working with different government agencies and local non-for profits from Oneida County and the City of Utica to bring awareness to housing insecurity.

Posted: Oct 7, 2019 6:02 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2019 6:26 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- World Homeless Day is Oct. 10 and this week United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area is working with different government agencies and local non-for profits from Oneida County and the City of Utica to bring awareness to housing insecurity.

The purpose of this initiative is to draw attention to those in need and educate people about the issues the community is facing.

Steve Darman with the Mohawk Valley Housing and Homeless Coalition says housing insecurity is a huge issue in Oneida County.

"This past year, in 17 years of doing this, I've never seen our shelters right at capacity," Darman said. "Most of our population, and its on any given day, its a 150 to 200 people, will be sheltered homeless, in one of our five emergency shelters in Oneida county."

Darman says even if you don't see a large population of homeless, that doesn't mean its not there.

"We're very lucky here, we don't have homeless camps or a large visible street presence of homeless people and that's because of the work the community has done to really identify people that are homeless early, give them a quick path towards housing," Darman said.

Darman says while there are many resources in Oneida County to help those who are in need, the problem is, those resources aren't permanent, and the demand is greater than the supply.

"Emergency shelter is not a solution to homelessness, the solution to homelessness is housing," Darman said. "We don't have enough affordable low income and supportive housing for all the folks out there that really just need housing resources. The center of homelessness prevention is having affordable and super affordable housing stock available."

Local agencies are partnering to bring awareness to those in need locally with four-part series on understanding and addressing homelessness in the area. Check back with NEWSChannel 2 for the next installment in this series, where local organizations will discuss resources and services available to those experiencing housing insecurity.

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