NORWICH – The colder winter weather has pushed more people out of their temporary, if not unheated, living situations to the doors of the county’s Social Services Department, Director Bette Osborne told lawmakers last week.
The numbers of homeless have surged from a low of four per month in 2005 to a high of 25. Osborne said many are discharged mental patients and prisoners freed from incarceration. Others were forced to leave their flood-damaged homes.
“Many have been forced to finally leave homes that were never repaired properly or heated,” she said.
Officials from several county agencies are meeting monthly to coordinate services and discuss housing alternatives. A statistical report is due out shortly from the Chenango Housing Council. According to Osborne, the homeless would traditionally be placed in local motels and/or shelters in other municipalities, but most of those are full...