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December 28, 2009 - 8:39am

Trailer broken into at St. Jerome's construction site

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Batavia Police are looking into a report that somebody broke into a construction trailer at 16 Bank St. and made himself a pot of coffee.

There is photographic evidence.

The suspect may be a homeless man asked to move along from the Post Office building yesterday.

Nothing, other than some coffee, appears to be missing from the construction trailer.

Doug Yeomans
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It sucks to be homeless. I wonder why he's wintering over in Batavia? Southern Texas, California, Arizona or New Mexico would be "hot" on my list of winter places if I were homeless. Maybe he was trying to get tossed into county lockup so he'd have someplace warm to stay, have a change of dry clothes, a shower and a meal. Oh, and more coffee.
DOUGLAS MCCLURG
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WHY? It would be a great Idea to set up a cheap trailor for the homeless somewhere to spend the nights-beat my Idea up-I realize the Idea comes with alot of what Ifs-but It Is a good thought
Doug Yeomans
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The minute you start catering to the homeless, more will come. I saw it on South Park.
Danielle Dempsey
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Whomever told this person to move along should be ashamed of themself. This time of year, especially, it is society's duty to lend a hand to people in need. Those who gripe about high taxes, the Savlation Army's efforts with its bell ringers, and those slapping at organizations aimed at helping the needy is a classic example of how narcissistic our country has become. The circle of yuppies running this country (and I mean you too Hollywood) need to get rid of their porsches and vacation homes, take a hit in their salaries (I'm sure you all could live comfortably on 100K a year) so that ALL can survive. No one should be homeless when the powers that be are living the high life. This article and the community in which we live reflects "Me" the people not "We" the people. How pathetic.
Beth Kinsley
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Danielle, that reminds me of a series that I just finished watching on the Travel Channel called "Meet the Natives". It is about a group of men from the South Pacific Island of Tanna who come to visit various places in the US to learn about our culture and to bring their message of peace. While in NYC they met an older homeless gentleman on the street and could not understand why this was allowed to happen because in their society they take care of each other. On a subsequent visit to a pet store while they were laughing at the doggie clothing they commented that we treat our pets better than we do our elders. http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Meet_the_Natives
Howard B. Owens
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Are there even social services for homeless in Genesee County? I've never heard of a shelter. That said, I did quite a bit of coverage of the homeless in San Diego during my early career. I interviewed a couple of dozen homeless people and homeless advocates -- and I learned something that every advocate for the homeless confirmed -- the people you see on the street are not there because they have no choice, no other option. In large cities, there are plenty of services to help get people off the street. It's not unusual to have a homeless shelter with dozens of beds open while just around the corner a group of men and women huddle together. Why? The homeless shelter has rules and expectations. Until a person decides they've had enough of life on the streets, a homeless shelter is no good to them. Our society has plenty to offer those who want help, but you can't help those who don't want it. As for this particular individual, I hope somehow there is help found for him, especially in this weather. But I have no argument with the cops telling him not to loiter at the Post Office.
Beth Kinsley
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My understanding is that if you are homeless in Genesee County DSS will offer you a bus ticket to Rochester because we don't have any homeless shelters. I work downtown Rochester so I see homeless people every day. I think that many of them sleep at the Open Door Mission but I was told that they have to leave during the day. I'm not sure if this is true - I hope not.
Lorie Cook
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Howard, I totally agree with what you say about rules an expectations but I also think many homeless people do not have the mental capacity to know how to get help. This is at least what I have seen in this area. The sad thing is we live in a society where it's all about me. What can I do for me? How can I make me happy? We do not take responsibility for those around us who need help. We spend out of control to make ourselves happy. But in the end do all those material possessions make us happy? No, because you end up so obsessed with those possessions you get yourself into a financial nightmare...it's an endless cycle.
C. M. Barons
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Howard, your notion that homeless people are somehow complicent in being on the streets has to be the most absurd observation I've ever encountered. Did you come to that conclusion after a bad experience with mescaline or were you tuned in to one of the "compassionate conservative" radio shows? The prime reason that homeless people are on the street as opposed to in a shelter is occupancy laws imposed on shelters. If you doubt this, contact any of the Catholic-run shelters in Monroe County. So, yes; there are rules, but those rules dictate number of beds, gender and age for sleeping accommodations. Most shelters can provide unlimited daytime shelter and meals. Overnight accommodations are more severely regulated. I have heard, however, that the Salvation Army has a habit of insisting on participation in religious practices, a form of quid pro quo. Do you think a non-Christian homeless person should surrendor his/her religious convictions in exchange for room and board? ...And if you are suggesting alcohol use supercedes a warm bed. I'm sure you are savvy enough to understand the nature of alcoholism and the diminished judgement of those afficted with that ILLNESS.
C D
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Sorry C.M, but Howard is right on this. There are homeless people that rather live on the streets. The most documented case I can think of is an ex-Juilliard student diagnosed with schizophrenia named Nathaniel Ayers. He was living on the streets of LA for years and continued to even when encouraged and bribed to come to a homeless shelter. Other than that, go interview some of the homeless people in Rochester. I can promise you'll find a handful that would rather stay homeless and live on the streets.
C. M. Barons
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Schizophrenia, drug addiction, alcoholism and other forms of mental illness do not facilitate sound choices. I grant you that the unfortunates who cannot find in-patient treatment for whatever ails them may assert free-choice- and even adapt to living on the streets. I also venture that the homeless of California cities may have a less complicated decision-making process when it comes to outdoor life. Last time I was in NYC, I walked around someone who was occupied with locating their soul in the sidewalk cracks. I'm sure, for him, that was a rational and worthwhile task. I do not believe any of the bystanders would concur.
Lorie Cook
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CM, do you mind me asking your background? I never really thought about addiction as a mental illness but it does (in some cases but not all) make sense. But I definitely believe that most homeless people have some mental illness issues that keep them on the streets. I just find it so sad that someone can become that lost that they are homeless. But what makes me insane is that most people do not realize they are a click away from becoming that lost person. What would it take for you to go THERE? You will never know until it happens to you.
Howard B. Owens
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C.M., say what you will, but my observations are drawn from real life experience and what PROFESSIONALS in the field have told me. Sound choices or not, there is no reason in this country for somebody to be long-term homeless EXCEPT by choice. That's just 100 percent fact. We have an exceptionally generous system available to anybody who needs to partake in any government or NGO social services -- they're out there, accessible and available.
Lorie Cook
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But Howard, if they do not have an address, how do they get any assistance? Just wondering because I have read and watched lots of documentaries on this and that is what they say is the biggest problem. The homeless have no address to send assistance to...I am just saying what I have heard...not that is the truth! This has been a passion of mine for 20+years.
Lorie Cook
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why are you responding to CM and not me? Because I am a woman...just kidding but most women will assume that...just saying....
Howard B. Owens
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Lorie, just got back from covering basketball (posted previous comment between games). Homeless shelters don't ask for addresses. That's why they're homeless shelters. I've never come across one that didn't offer or couldn't connect a person with a transition service. One of the people I wrote about many years ago was a former homeless man who went to a shelter, got help and was living (with government aide) in an apartment in Santee (next to El Cajon). He was getting job training and drug counseling. His goal, get a job, stay clean and sober long enough to get his son back. He took me on a tour of how he used to live as a homeless person in El Cajon. We came across some of his old homeless buddies. He was very friendly with them, but when we walked away, he just shook his head and noted that they could get help if they wanted it. There's no doubt that drugs and alcohol can be for some people horrible, horrible, inescapable demons. And I often think the classic, "but by the grace of God ... " My only point is that it is important to remember that when we see homeless people it isn't like society has failed these people -- it's not like they don't have options. They do. They may be too muddle brained to recognize it, but I don't know what you do about such people. I'm just saying there are plenty of options out their if they are willing to reach out and follow the advice/rules they are given.
C. M. Barons
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My background is varied: my degree is in communications/journalism. I have professional experience in food processing, newspaper editing, cable-tv news service, human services/counseling, education, audio-visual, sound reinforcement/production, computer networking, video production, student services and most recently, blood services/manufacturing lab. My counseling experience was with At-Risk youth, primarily in employment training, but I networked with mental health, social services, etc. I worked in a public school for over 25 years. I have been politically active all my adult life: member of the Green Party; contributor: Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, Common Cause, Americans United, Greenpeace... You get the picture. Howard, 1.6 million people in the U. S. take advantage of temporary shelter in any given year. 1 in 50 children in this country face homelessness. Estimates of chronic homelessness in this country total 3/4 of a million. 12.5% (37,300,000) of the population live in poverty- a third of those people are children. Foreclosures (32% jump in 2008 - 09), lay-offs, lack of work opportunities (6 million jobs lost since recession began) and decline in public assistance value as well as domestic violence, poor health care and lack of low-income housing has contributed to the 12% spike in urban homeless numbers. Mental illness accounts for at least 16% or the adult homeless population. Now, Howard, your anecdotal evidence may account for some indigency. I cannot see 1.6 million people, a third of them, children; voluntarily living on the streets. Despite some romantic, fictional portrayals of street-life, it can't be any picnic (read on). Considering law enforcement's campaign to discourage indigency, of 235 cities surveyed: • 33 per cent prohibit “camping” in particular public places in the city and 17 per cent have citywide prohibitions on “camping.” • 30 per cent prohibit sitting/lying in certain public places. • 47 per cent prohibit loitering in particular public areas and 19 per cent prohibit loitering citywide. • 47 per cent prohibit begging in particular public places; 49 per cent prohibit aggressive panhandling and 23 per cent have citywide prohibitions on begging. The trend of criminalizing homelessness continues to grow. Based on information gathered about the 224 cities that were included in our prohibited conduct charts in both our 2006 report and this report: • There has been a 7 per cent increase in laws prohibiting “camping” in particular public places. • There has been an 11 per cent increase in laws prohibiting loitering in particular public places. • There has been a 6 per cent increase in laws prohibiting begging in particular public places and a 5 per cent increase in laws prohibiting aggressive panhandling. ...And those were not the meanest of campaigns against the homeless.
Howard B. Owens
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C.M., I fail to see how anything in your newest post addresses anything I've said in mine.
C. M. Barons
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Howard, it could be that we are in total disagreement (which isn't a crime) or it could be that we are merely victims of semantics. My point is that people do not choose to be homeless- other than those who are mentally ill, drug/alcohol addicted or with legal travails; some extenuating circumstance. Not every "homeless" person's situation is the same or suitable to be generalized. That some "homeless" choose not to avail shelters is a separate, though related issue. I do not consider temporary shelters to be "homes." One must also recognize that public services in place to remedy "homelessness" are not applicable to every circumstance of the "homeless." In other words, the public safety net does not provide a "home" to every "homeless" person. Nor is every "homeless" person able or willing to submit to the burocratic requisites preliminary to accessing public assistance. That still does not equate to "homeless" people CHOOSING to be "homeless." Ignorance, fear, mental illness, infirmity, outstanding warrants, couples/families who do not want to be split up, distrust: these conditions may effect one's choice regarding "the system;" they do not alter one's dissatisfaction with the status- "homeless." I can offer anecdotal evidence as well: the other night- a particularly cold night, I was at the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester for a performance by John Brown's Body. When leaving the venue, I walked by a homeless man, about 60 years old, who asked the stream of people on the sidewalk, "I'm homeless, can you help me?" I shoved my bar change in his coat pocket (between 2 and 4 dollars) and we made eye contact, "I'm homeless, can you help me?" he repeated more intensely. He didn't want my money. (I suppose a few bucks doesn't help when a room costs thirty or more.) Maybe he wanted me to drive him somewhere. Maybe he wanted me to take him to my home for a warm bed and hot meal. Maybe he wanted me to share a bottle of Tokay. Maybe he wanted firewood. I don't know; I didn't hang around to ask him. I wanted my gesture of a few bucks to salve the discomfort of seeing a fellow human-being who's condition and predicament drove me to compassion. Despite my insufficient gesture, I can vouch for him; he did not want to be "homeless." http://homelessness.change.org/blog/view/why_i_choose_streets_over_shelter
Julie Morales
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Very well stated, CM. Your account of your encounter in Rochester touched me. I think it’s difficult for most people to comprehend an alternative existence without projecting their own perceptions and experiences. Genuine empathy is rare.
Julie Morales
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Thanks for the link...great website!
Robin Walters
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When I first read the post, my first thought was why did that person or persons offer some type of assistance to this person? No, instead, it was move on.. so they did to only end up breaking into a trailer and make a cup of coffee. I read with much interest all of the posts in regards to this subject. As many of you know, by reading my blogs for Care-A-van Ministries, I have a heart for the people of the streets of Batavia, Care-A-Van Ministries has a heart for the people of the streets. We go forth every Saturday and on Thursday nights to give assistance to whereever we can. One thing I also think people don't realize is that just because someone is not "living" on the streets, does not mean that they are homeless. There are many out there that are staying with others because they have no place to call home. Yes they may be a little more fortunate because they have a bed at night, but they are hurting in many ways as well. That is one thing that has touched my heart is that there is not a local place here for those that need a place to stay, a warm inviting place that can offer assistance to help them get back on their feet due to any circumstance. There are many legalities involved if they do go to Social Services looking for assistance, age is a big factor. The help that is given is like it was stated a bus ticket to either Rochester or Buffalo, or again depending on the age and circumstance they may get some type of assistance living in one of the boarding houses here in town. There has been several instances where we have run into people that had no place to go. Sometimes a church may put them up in a motel for a few days, but what happens after that? It takes effort time and as said the willingness of the person to want to be able to find a place to stay. We have seen and helped people with the help of the Lord and local agencies to get them some type of assistance. It can get so discouraging and wearing on one's emotions. We are grateful and thankful for the agencies that have come on board to help out when we refer people to them. The hardest part is they have got to want it and work towards it. They need to keep the appointments and be willing to give the information needed. What is the saying? You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink Now put on top of it the drug addiction, the alcohol addiction, the mental illness and much more and one has alot to deal with. Who is willing to help those people? Who has a heart and wants to make a difference in lives of others? There is one person that truly cares and wants the best for all of us and that is the Lord and having faith and trust in him, he truly can set one free and turn their lives around. He is the one who gives us everything we have and gives us the strength to get through any type of ordeal in our lives. There are some great people here in Batavia that truly want to make a difference for others and their community. I have met them and have seen them and their acts of kindness. But honestly, I personally think this story brings to light for all of us, that whenever someone is put in front of us the next time, what would we do? Would we turn the other way, or would we offer a helping hand. There are many that do not believe in what Care-A-Van does. They think we enable people. I could write all day about the hearts that are touched and the changes that take place in people's lives. Do we get discouraged sometimes when we don't see change happening right away? Absolutely! Do we give up? No. .. we keep going forth, sharing the good news, helping others, praying with them and encouraging them that there is hope. I have a real heart for the abused children and women that are in the community. I am thankful for what the Domestic Violence program does here in the community. I still wish there was a big ole victorian house that I could gather them all up in, help them heal from their past hurts pains and abuse, and get a new start in life and help them realize they do not need to stay in the situation they are in... Ok .. I am rambling here.. But if the good Lord is stirring your heart, to want to go forth and make a difference, please feel free to join us anytime on the bus. We are always in need of volunteers. With being out there, you may just find what your true calling is and how you can make a difference, even if it is just for a few hours on a Saturday morning. God Bless and as we say.. Keep the Light On! Robin
Howard B. Owens
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Robin, communities definitely need services such as Care-A-Van. As I said, I've dealt with and talked to professionals about homeless people that don't want help. Some of them never change and the end is often sad and tragic. Anybody can make a contribution to making this world a better place, and those who check out for whatever reason deprive us all, really. But I think you pretty much nailed it when you said, "The hardest part is they have got to want it and work towards it. They need to keep the appointments and be willing to give the information needed." If people don't want it, all the social services and outreach programs in the world won't help. But when people do want it, there needs to be services such as Care-A-Van. And of course, Care-A-Van undoubtedly does a lot of good in leading people to wanting the help. The thing I love about Care-A-Van has nothing to do with religion -- it's that it's a community roots sort of activity. It's people in the community providing help and care for people no matter what their need, from the homeless to the near homeless to the abused to the troubled and even to the lonely college student. It's people like you and the others in Care-A-Van that help make a community strong.
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Hey Howard, thanks for the nice comments, but I do have to make one correction where you state that Care-A-van has nothing to do with religion. The Mission statement of Care-A-Van is to seek the kingdom of God reflected here on earth as it is in heaven, to partner with all churches working together for the purpose of sharing the love of God and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Care-A-Van Ministries, to seek out and serve the lost, the less fortunate and the hurting. We are compelled to glorify God by being faithful stewards of all that he has entrusted to us. Psalm 9:18 states "The Needy will not always be forgotten. Our main mission is to spread the news of Jesus. I remember reading one time " that the food is the hook to the book". There are people that stand in line for the groceries, the physical food, but what they are really lacking and seeking is the spiritual food. We definitely are about community activity, we are all about the community coming together to share the love of Jesus and helping the lost find their salvation and get rooted in a church where they will continue to learn about the awesome plans that God has for their lives. Whether it be through the food, the clothing, the prayers, or any of the other needs that are met, our prayer is that people will see the light and reflection of our Lord in all of it.
Bea McManis
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"This guy's walkin' down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, "Hey you! Can you help me out?" The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, "Father, I'm down in this hole; can you help me out?" The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. "Hey, Joe, it's me. Can ya help me out?" And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, "Are ya stupid? Now we're both down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out." "Noel"; Second Season, The West Wing Sometimes it takes someone who has been there before to help someone in crisis.
Howard B. Owens
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Robin, sorry for the misunderstanding -- I didn't say Care-A-Van has nothing to do with with religion, I said what I appreciate about it that has nothing to do with religion ... in other words, besides religion or without taking the religious aspect into account, what is beneficial is ... etc.

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