Neighborhood Residents Circulate Petition To Protest Overnight Warming Centers For The Homeless
Published: October 27th, 2022
By: Tyler Murphy

Neighborhood residents circulate petition to protest overnight warming centers for the homeless A homeless man searches through a garbage dumpster in downtown Norwich. (Photo by Tyler Murphy)

NORWICH – A handful of Norwich residents are circulating a petition against a homeless warming shelter being proposed in Norwich.

At a meeting earlier this month Catholic Charities and city officials spoke about a proposed warming center. Some residents spoke in favor of it, others against.

Some of those circulating the petition said they were never informed about the center being placed in their neighborhood.

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At an Oct. 18 Norwich City meeting the Chenango County Department of Social Services revealed an “exponential increase” in the number of homeless people using a local cold weather program since it was mandated by the state in 2016.

The order forces rural counties to house people in freezing weather, even if they refuse to follow rules or stop using drugs, by either building homeless shelters or paying to place the homeless in local hotels.

Chenango County has no homeless shelter.

DSS Commissioner Dan Auwarter said every available hotel room in the county might be occupied.

In 2016 Chenango County had eight people in the program, by 2021 it was nearly 100 and this year officials project it will be more than 200.

As an alternative Catholic Charities and DSS supported an overnight warming center at 34 Berry Street, which was the former Roots & Wings location. The location can support up to 10 people.

Auwarter also said, “Hotels are a method of compliance, that in my mind, are not appropriate to this particular need.”

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“Hotels provide a potential amount of privacy, obviously they are intended for the public to use as a business resource and never intended to be a social services program. However, in lieu of any other resource upstate has rely on these more and more.”

“Delaware, Otsego, Madison, Schoharie, I talked to them this morning. Several of them are also in the process of operating or building warming stations to adjust to this growing need.”

Read more about the issue of local homelessness in Norwich in tomorrow's Evening Sun.


1 year ago
The person shown in the picture is committing crimes and should be locked up. He's in possession of stolen property (shopping cart), criminal trespass (on private property with the intent of committing a crime) , petit larceny ( stealing property), and is probably intoxicated in public another crime. I could go on, but the city is attempting to draw people to this museum district and all they'll see is is this plight on our city. We should load them on buses and send them to NYC where they are experts on this and claim they're welcomed, problem solved !!
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