Efforts by Charter Communications (Spectrum) to get some homeless people who have been camped out on South Avenue off of their property heated up on Tuesday morning. The cable provider contacted Rochester Police to have people taken off that land where some tents have been set up near Charter’s facilities at 71 Mount Hope Avenue.
RPD says that all but two people at the encampment decided to leave on their own. An advocate for the homeless people at that site was arrested after refusing to leave, but police say Charter later decided they no longer wanted to pursue trespassing charges for that person.
Sister Grace Miller of the House of Mercy is a longtime advocate for the homeless. And she says advocates are worried.
"That's our concern because where are they going to go and some of them have been there for a long time. There are different community organizations that are watching the tent area, to make sure that Spectrum does not come down and remove them," she told WXXI News.
Miller says that advocates have tried to find housing for these individuals, but some of them won't go to a group setting.
“They can’t be around other people, they really get nervous, other people bother them and so they would rather be alone, and that’s why some of them are in tents. Some are in tents because they’re waiting for housing, they’re waiting for placement, but many of them are in the tents because they just can’t live in a population.”
Miller also said, “We need more compassion, we need more justice and we need to be sure that there is sufficient housing in our city for our homeless and our poor. When you see the gentrification of the city, what’s going on, it’s really pushing the poor out of the city.”
Police say the city and social service agencies are going to work extensively to try to help with this situation.
Charter Communications released this statement:
"The trespassing enforcement at our Rochester today facility follows a six-month effort to carry out a dignified transition for the people trespassing on our property. We helped the vast majority of the people affected identify alternative housing, and we will continue to work to help the people affected identify an option for safe housing."