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November 11, 2014 - 6:36pm

Group formed to help the homeless in Batavia

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, homeless.

A group of local residents are concerned that they're seeing a rise in homelessness in Genesee County and are trying to pull resources together to address the issue.

Genesee Community Warming Center Coalition wants to find a location for a shelter and showers, said James Rocco Soccio, one of the group's members.

Soccio said on any given day there may be from two to 15 people in Genesee County who don't have proper shelter.

Regardless of how they got in that situation, he would like to see the community come together to provide assistance.

A shower and a shave could help somebody get a job. Food will keep people, especially children, from going hungry. Shelter might save a life.

Winter's coming on and snow and cold are just days away.

We spoke with Soccio standing in the midst of a homeless encampment in Batavia (we agreed not to disclose the location to help avoid any sort of harassment of the occupants). 

There were no people at the camp while we were there this afternoon, but it's clear the camp is currently occupied. There was food on shelves, clothing hung neatly on a line in a tent, a bike leaning against a tree and a very friendly cat wandering about.

There is also a tent set off from the main group of tents, giving the impression it might serve as a latrine. There's also a covered refuse pile nearby. It's clear the camp has been in use for an extended period of time.

Soccio said Pastor Paul Ohlson from Care-A-Van Ministries had visited the camp previously delivering food. Sometimes there's one person there. Sometimes there are four or five.

It's Soccio's impression that the camp is shared by a revolving set of people in need of shelter.

It was the first time Soccio had seen it personally and he was rather taken aback.

"It's unbelievable until you see it," Soccio said. "I'm shocked that this is happening here Genesee County. We need to get something together so they're not out there committing crimes to get three hots and a cot. That's the truth of it all."

There is a Facebook group for the coalition. Also, the group is trying to raise money with GoFundMe.com. Finally, the group meets at 3 p.m. every Wednesday. Tomorrow it meets at the Salvation Army, 529 E.Main St., Batavia.

cj sruger
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That cat doesn't look like its missed many meals.

Don Patterson
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Give me a GD break. This is Batavia, people don't live in GD tents with winter right around the corner. If you know where this is, you need to get in touch with social services
RIGHT GD NOW especially if children are involved. Yeah, I know there's a lot of people who game the system, but there not living in tents in November.

Bea McManis
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I’m confused. I directed people to this site https://www.facebook.com/GCWarmingCenter, but the link at the bottom of the article is directing them to https://www.facebook.com/groups/1501414270113231/ Which is right?

Jason Post
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"Dear Human,
Missing meals is for animals that are not the most lethal thing that could fit in a bread box.
Sincerely,
The Cat."

Raymond Richardson
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"This is Batavia, people don't live in GD tents with winter right around the corner. "

So you're saying that because you're in Batavia, this doesn't happen?

I've got news for you Mr. Patterson, homelessness happens everywhere. It's not just an urban problem. If people like you would only open your eyes, and see the bigger picture, you might be surprised at the fine details of that picture.

People with no home do whatever they need to do to get under cover, even living in tents in November.

Here in Rochester homeless people sleep in the Court St. parking garage through the winter.

Whatever it takes.

Dave Olsen
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Nice to hear of a private group wanting to help out. Good job folks!

edit: to correct myself, I mean "another private group" as I know there are many who help already, one more is a good thing

david spaulding
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anyone ever think that these people just want to be left alone?
I do believe there are services out there, to receive them all one
has to do is ask........ leave them alone.....

Chris Vallett
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invasion of privacy! how would you like it if someone came into your home while you were away and took pictures and put them online? I agree leave them alone!

Beth Beesley
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This could be private property has anyone ever checked into this property being "squatted" on. I would not want anyone living in tents on my property. If this was happening I would take them into my own home or find them other options

Brian Graz
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Typically people who live like this [the adults... any children should be protected] do so because they want to. I used to have some of the members who lived at the Batavia camp ride my bus when I drove for BLine. They talked openly about their living circumstances and usually they were there by choice. They often were clean, had decent clothes and cell phones! If someone were to offer them a warm bed, hot showers, meals, and a job... in return for simply committing to show up for work every day they would decline. The main underlying theme was that these folks don't like the regimen and obligation of society which is focused on working to earn a means of self support.

As far as "leave them alone and don't violate their 'home'", the land they are living on belongs to someone, and not likely any one of them. I'd say the "leave them alone" proposition requires the land owner's approval.

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