WXXI AM News

Homeless

The Hotel Cadillac has closed, but activists supporting former residents continue to protest how they say management company DHD Ventures handled the closure. Local shelters are working to find housing for the former residents, while saying the future of the Cadillac is a symbol of gentrification in Rochester.  What's next for the property is unclear. We discuss it. 

In studio:

Students from Genesee Community Charter School have teamed up with a local artist on a mural project to better understand Rochester’s neighborhoods. The ROC Believers join us to share what they learned about poverty, gentrification, and urban revitalization in our city.

In studio:

  • Natalia Barone, sixth grader at Genesee Community Charter School
  • Zack Nur, sixth grader at Genesee Community Charter School
  • Alexi Stubbe, sixth grade teacher at Genesee Community Charter School
  • Shawn Dunwoody, Rochester artist and designer

House of Mercy celebrates new facility

May 11, 2018

It’s been exactly one year since staff at the House of Mercy packed their things and moved into a new facility just outside of downtown.

The new house, located on Ormond Street, features more space to house residents, laundry, a backyard patio space and more space for food and meals. It also has case management and support and housing assistance services right on site. Overall, there are 82 semi-private beds, increasing how many people the shelter can help. 

Research shows that LGBTQ youth make up a disproportionally high percentage of the homeless population across the nation, putting them at risk for discrimination, sex trafficking, and more. It's an issue affecting our community.

Local organizations are pushing for more beds for this vulnerable population. We talk to them about their efforts, and we hear from people in our community who faced these challenges when they were homeless. 

What will be the future of the Cadillac Hotel? The historic building in downtown Rochester was acquired by developer DHD Ventures in October, but the company has yet to release plans detailing the property’s future. Many people are wondering what will happen to members of Rochester’s homeless population who are often housed there when shelters run out of available beds. The living conditions in the hotel have been criticized by local shelter leaders, and the county stopped housing people there in 2016 because it didn’t meet standards.

These issues were the focus of a recent piece in Open Mic Roc. We talk about what the Open Mic team learned while reporting on the Cadillac, and we discuss how local homeless families could be impacted by changes with the hotel. Our guests:

About 150 volunteers spread out across the Rochester area Thursday night and during the day on Friday, looking for homeless people in what is called "Project Homeless Count."

Trillium Health is one of the organizations involved, and its housing specialist, Javier Elias, says there are a number of homeless people in the region who have slipped through cracks in the system for various reasons. 

A local nonprofit is helping the homeless find permanent housing. We talk to the founders of Person Centered Housing Options about why they think a housing-first model makes for better outcomes in health, education, and in keeping families together.

Our guests:

  • Nicholas Coulter, co-founder of Person Centered Housing Options
  • Charlie Albanese, co-founder of Person Centered Housing Options
  • Enrique Arcelay, veteran of Person Centered Housing Options

New research shows that the average life expectancy of homeless men and women in Rochester is more than two decades shorter than that of men and women who are not homeless. There's also a significant difference in the life expectancy of homeless men versus homeless women.

Harry Murray is the Nazareth College professor who did the research using data from the House of Mercy. He published his findings in a new report called "Homelessness as Death Sentence." We discuss the data and we'll talk about ways to help homeless people in our community. In studio:

  • Harry Murray, professor of sociology at Nazareth College
  • Sister Grace Miller, founder of the House of Mercy

An upcoming symposium seeks to address many issues related to homelessness, including housing as a human right. The Homeless Services Network of Rochester will present the 14th HSN Symposium on Wednesday, September 27 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Our guests preview the symposium and discuss homelessness in Rochester. In studio:

Compared to cities its size, Rochester has the second highest rate of overall poverty. The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI)  has set a goal to reduce poverty in our region by 50% in the next 15 years. Is that realistic? Some critics of the Anti-Poverty Initiative say the effort has been a lot of talk, with little action, but RMAPI leaders say understanding our region’s poverty problem and developing effective strategies to alleviate it take time.

Catholic Family Center is a key partner in the initiative, and it’s set to launch adult mentoring pilot programs aimed at helping people in our community become financially secure and independent. This is all happening during Catholic Family Center’s centennial. We talk about the new pilot programs, and we hear from people whose lives have been transformed thanks to Catholic Family Center's services. Our guests:

  • Erica King, clinical supervisor at the Community Resource Services department at Catholic Family Center
  • Ron Rizzo, director of Family Prosperity Programs at Catholic Family Center
  • Jackie Wallace, Son House resident at Catholic Family Center, and student at MCC
  • Yomary Malave, participant in Catholic Family Center’s Lafayette House program, and student at MCC

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