Immediate Release

Thursday, September 20, 2007 

For Information Contact

798-5800

Picente: Oneida County Embarks on
Effort
To End Chronic Homelessness
in Oneida County

Joined by representatives of federal and local governments and community partners, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced the beginning of a 10-year plan aimed at ending chronic homelessness in Oneida County .

“Homelessness is a very real and serious problem that requires long-term partnerships to develop solutions that can help men and women who, for whatever circumstances, are left homeless in our communities,” Picente said. “We need to look at homelessness as part of a broader spectrum of issues that include substance abuse, mental health issues, education, employment and issues such as domestic violence and post-traumatic stress.”

Picente thanked John Zegarelli of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness for his presence and for his support of the local effort. “When the people and agencies in this community put together a great project like this, it makes it the kind of project that can show Washington how a community pulls together on behalf of people in need,” Picente said. “ Oneida County is committed to working in partnership with our community agencies to provide opportunities for individuals who are homeless to access the support services they need to recover and rebuild their lives and to work with agencies and residents to develop solutions that can reduce and end chronic homelessness. This is a great opportunity to bring new hope to women and men in need of a second chance.”

Referencing the report, “Homelessness in Oneida County, NY: Understanding and Addressing a Hidden Social Problem,” written by Social Sciences Associates in support of the  Mohawk Valley Housing and Homeless Assistance Coalition and funded by  The Oneida County Department of Mental Health, Picente said that data makes it clear there is a problem with chronic homelessness, and that the problem of homelessness is intertwined with other social ills, including substance abuse and chemical dependency, status as an ex-offender,  and the increasing number of family breakups caused by economic stress, domestic violence and even transitioning back to the community from military service. Picente noted that family breakups are also linked to youth who are homeless.

 “I want to salute the efforts of the Oneida County Department of Mental Health, the Mohawk Valley Housing and Homeless Assistance Coalition, ands the Oneida County Continuum of Care for all pf the outstanding work they have done over the past five years to build a strong community coalition to support programs and services that are helping people who are homeless so that they can find a job, deal with chemical dependency or find housing,” Picente said. “These partners have developed a regional approach that combines every possible partner to help those in need. This 10-year plan will require all of those partners to move their efforts to the next level so that instead of just addressing the needs of those who become homeless, we work to address the issues causing homelessness even as we help the individuals in need.”