Tompkins County Overnight Outreach Seeks To Identify Homeless People

Since 2015, the number of homeless people in New York State has increased. Monday night, local teams of volunteers worked with law enforcement agencies to conduct an annual count of the homeless population across the nation. It is a federal requirement for commu nities receiving funds to help homeless people and reduce homelessness from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The count happens overnight. It has two parts: counting those living in shelters and also, those who are described as “unsheltered.”

Tompkins County Fights State Requirement That Homeless Pay For Shelter

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New York’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance requires counties to collect fees from homeless people staying in shelters. Some counties are pushing back. The regulation was first enacted in the mid 1990s but in 2015 it was updated. Under the existing regulation, a person who is homeless could be required to pay up to $70.54 per night depending on a state formula based on all of their income, earned and unearned. Tompkins County has not been collecting the fees.

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New Head Appointed For Broome County’s Public Nursing Home

Consultants have recommended closing Willow Point Nursing Home in Vestal, New York, but now it’s close to having another permanent director. Broome County Executive Jason Garner appointed Ryan LaClair on Tuesday. LaClair was most recently at the Country Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage. In his time at that facility, he improved the quality to a five-star rating based on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Quality Measures. Willow Point has been without a permanent leader for four months now. The county-run nursing home had a budget in the red for years.

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Mercy House Brings New Purpose To Old Church

Cheers came as the ribbon was cut and people filed into the newly opened Mercy House in Endicott. Mercy House now inhabits the old St. Casimir’s Church. It retains some of it’s old features like the stained glass and the heavy timber beams, but now it houses ten rooms for people who are terminally ill to call home. The shelter will provide spiritual care and Lourdes Hospital will make visits provide hospice care.

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Area Shelters: Homelessness Executive Order Is Nothing New

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is ordering local governments to move people who are homeless to shelter during cold weather. The executive order reinforces existing law that requires authorities to take people in for psychiatric evaluation, or hospitalization. Despite the announcement, local experts say it won’t have much effect in the Southern Tier. Binghamton YWCA director Carole Coppens says the region already provides room for everyone who seeks it in the winter. This “no freeze” policy from the Coalition for the Homeless of the Southern Tier runs on private donations.

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Construction Begins At Collegetown Housing Development

Construction is underway on a new housing development in Ithaca’s Collegetown neighborhood. On a recent afternoon, a crew filled in the foundation for the future Collegetown Crossing. The building is set to open next summer with just under 50 apartments. It’s down the street from Cornell University, in a bustling area with several other student developments. Even more housing is needed in Ithaca, though.

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Oneonta Affordable Housing Wins State Support

An affordable housing project in Oneonta just got nearly $7 million from New York state. Gary Herzig says the project fills a big need. “We have very few affordable housing units for working families,” Herzig says. “In addition, we have a list, a long list, of vacant housing units that unfortunately is getting longer every year.”

Herzig works at the community agency Opportunities for Otsego. He helped coordinate the new housing project.