February 9, 2009

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Close to 200 people homeless in Rockland County

NEW CITY – Rockland County now has 192 people classified as homeless.

The annual “Point in Time” count of the homeless was released by County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, the Office of Community Development, the Department of Social Services and social service agencies around Rockland.

“Homelessness” is categorized by the county in three ways: those who are in emergency shelters, which is defined as housing for six months or less; those who live in transitional housing for six months to two years; and those who are unsheltered and living out of doors.

Of those counted as homeless, 69 people were housed in emergency shelters, 52 were in transitional housing and 71 were listed as unsheltered and living in makeshift outdoor encampments around Rockland.

Homeless subpopulations that were counted in the January 27 survey included 86 that were chronically homeless, 144 who were classified as severely mentally ill, 29 who were victims of domestic violence, 19 who were addicted to drugs or alcohol and nine veterans. All those who fell into the subpopulation group were sheltered with various county agencies at the time the survey was taken. According to the 2009 survey, there are no children living without shelter in Rockland County.

“Homelessness is a human tragedy that can strike at any time and is often caused by a variety or combination of adverse circumstances, including overwhelming debt, mental illness or substance abuse,” Vanderhoef said. “We in Rockland County are committed to finding those without homes, making sure they are aware of the services available to them and helping to get them back on their feet.”

Rockland’s emergency shelters are run by the Rockland Family Shelter and the County’s DSS, which has a facility at its Pomona complex. Transitional housing is provided by different human service agencies around the county.

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