County DSS talks about homelessness at meeting

(Photo Source: Getty Images).

Cortland County Department of Social Services commissioner Kristen Monroe briefed county legislators Tuesday on the ongoing housing issues in Cortland County.

“Everyone is talking about the folks in our community struggling without a home,” Monroe said during this week’s County Health and Human Services committee meeting. 

Recently, police have reported finding encampments of unhoused people in the city of Cortland. 

“We have found a couple dozen encampments,” City police chief Paul Sandy said in a recent interview. “Some are old, some are new. I cannot tell you how many people are labeled as homeless, but we seem to deal with about a dozen that are continually getting our attention.”

DSS is currently helping at least 37 individuals to find emergency housing in the county.

“At the same time last year, we were housing 19 individuals and three families, which is a total of 22. We are housing a 68 percent difference year-to-year,” Monroe said.

Monroe noted she is set to meet with Sandy and city mayor Scott Steve in the next week to continue to find solutions.

“We are going to talk about the best way to coordinate and help these folks,” she said.

Monroe added city residents are voicing their concerns.

“What is even more concerning is that our phones are ringing off the hook with people concerned about the number of people who are camping in the city,” she said. “These folks are not choosing to come here and apply. I don’t think it is fair to say they are choosing to live the way they are, but they are choosing not to comply with government processes.”