As the weather gets colder, some Rochester advocates for the homeless are facing tough decisions now that they’ve lost out in a competition for state money.
Local organizations that missed out on the funding pot this time around are working to decide on what steps to take next to help the homeless. And advocates say they did not have much time to prepare.
Organizers at Rochester’s Jennifer House make it their mission to give homeless women with a criminal background a place to stay to get back on track.
“Sometimes it takes a lot to get them acclimated to the community, to get them resources,” said Sarah Lee, the director of Jennifer House.
Lee says it takes a lot of funding to provide support for them. Funding that the organization is now missing part of.
The program was one of four Monroe County organizations that, for the first time, did not receive grant money through the state’s Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP).
“We’re kind of downstream now because we found out so late in the game,” said Lee.
With the weather turning colder and colder, Lee says the organization is now looking at ways to save money. This could mean cutting key programs and possibly a reduction in the number of women who can stay at the shelter. That’s a situation organizers want to avoid.
“We’re out there every day trying to find folks and provide them with housing,” said Nicholas Coulter of Person Centered Housing Options.
Person-Centered Housing Options is one of the two local outlets that received STEHP funding.
Coulter says often the homeless people find themselves under bridges or in tent cities, which makes housing options all the more important.
“The need is definitely there, we see folks all over Monroe County,” said Coulter.
Back at the Jennifer House, Lee says they will continue to hold out hope.
“I know that we will continue to try to do our best in accommodating the woman that we do serve,” said Lee.
Those organizations will be able to re-apply for the funding at the end of the current five-year contract.