Homelessness on the rise in Chenango

NORWICH – There were nearly four times as many individuals presenting themselves to the Chenango County Department of Social Services as homeless in January compared to a year earlier, and the cost for assisting them currently averages about $2,000 a month.

“That’s the cost to this agency, not to Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, and Catholic Charities who worked with us,” DSS Commissioner Bette Osborne said.

Six people, including one family, were without shelter in January 2006 versus 21 people in January 2007. Osborne said the reasons range from the working poor becoming further in debt, flooded out apartments that landlords have not repaired, people moving into the area with no job nor place to live and domestic abuse.

“There are a lot of people on the fringes who have gotten so far under financially that at this point they are homeless,” she said.

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