Homelessness on the rise

NORWICH - The number of individuals and families presenting themselves as homeless is on the rise in Chenango County, and social services agencies are running out of places to harbor them.

Between 8 to 10 individuals, many with a number of children, have regulary sought shelter from caseworkers at the County Office Building on a monthly basis, Department of Social Services Commissioner Bette Osborne told lawmakers this fall. She described the homeless situation as “unusual” over the course of her nearly five-year tenure with DSS.

“We’ve run out of places to put them,” she said during a meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee in October.

There are no shelters in Chenango County, and – like most rural counties – the resources for building one appear non-existent. “This is happening throughout the state, but smaller counties like ours are not prepared to handle it,” Osborne said.

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