WHITE PLAINS, NY and YONKERS, NY — November 29, 2018 — “For many years, those who are classified as homeless cluster in our urban core areas. Society, working through government, provides some minimum baseline of shelter particularly on cold nights. Part of this is a legal requirement, part of this is a moral requirement. Downtown Yonkers is one of those areas, and for a number of years the nonprofit Sharing Community has provided some of those basic services, contracting for space with St. John’s Church. The County Department of Social Services has contracted with outside agencies to provide services for the homeless.
“In Yonkers, our current contract with St. John’s Church expires December 31; the Church that houses this has other plans for their space. Working with the City, the County has not yet found acceptable alternate space to house the homeless. Additionally advocates have requested additional space for day programs for the homeless to keep then gainfully engaged and off the streets, or away from congregating in other public buildings with other functions (libraries, transit stations).
“Since we are still without alternate space, we are discussing an extension of the current arrangements for six additional months, through June 30. The heart of the winter is ahead and without alternate space, we have few options. There are voices in the community that do not care whether we help the homeless at all, seeing it as not their problem; they believe that these individuals must do more for themselves. There are other voices in the community that insist we do more for the needy. The emotion of this issue exceeds any rational discussion. The answer is in siting an appropriate facility in a workable setting, and we will continue trying to find the balance to better address the matter.”
About Westchester County
Westchester County, located in the heart of the historic Hudson Valley, covers 500 square miles and has a population of just under a million. Originally home to Native Americans, who were members of the Lenape tribe, it is today a rich mix of many cultures and landscapes. The County is a blend of bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque towns as well as open spaces and a network of beautiful parks. Westchester is made up of 6 cities, 19 towns and 20 villages. Westchester County is known for top-notch public schools, and a high quality of life. The County is also an intellectual capital, boasting a highly educated workforce, competitive colleges and universities, Fortune 500 companies, world changing non-profits, and cutting-edge research centers. Westchester is led by County Executive George Latimer, who took office in January 2018 as the ninth County Executive. Using inclusion and openness as a foreground, Latimer is fighting to make Westchester a destination for all people to live, work and enjoy. Learn more about Westchester County by visiting www.westchestergov.com
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SOURCE: Joseph Sgammato, Deputy Director of Communications, Westchester County Executive George Latimer