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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.”