February 1st, 2022
As a result of Monday’s unprecedented collaboration between Monroe County and City of Rochester service agencies and law enforcement, five (5) individuals inhabiting the Civic Center Garage were moved to appropriate housing and provided mental health, substance use disorder and other support services.
The garage is not a safe or humane place for human beings to inhabit. In coming days, the county’s Forensic Intervention Team (FIT), IMPACT (Improving Addiction Coordination Team), Department of Social Services, Rochester Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, along with other partners, will continue this multidisciplinary outreach in the garage to assure that all individuals sheltering there have a safe, warm place to stay as well as the services and supports they need.
Each individual sheltering in the garage is eligible for placement in a shelter or hotel room and transportation, without exception. If an individual refuses a placement, the shelter space or hotel room will remain available to them, should they change their mind.
Remaining in the garage — sleeping on cold concrete floors, breathing exhaust fumes, and having no access to restroom facilities — is no longer an option. We are giving notice to individuals and organizations that inhabiting the garage will end.
Including the individuals assisted on Monday night, the county’s Department of Social Services has so far this winter placed 49 individuals formerly using the garage into other housing.
The goal of our engagement is not to arrest individuals due to circumstances that led them to seek shelter in an inappropriate place — the objective is to move people sheltering in the garage into treatment, safe housing, and in some cases into the criminal justice system.
As part of the detail on Monday, one individual with outstanding arrest warrants for alleged prior crimes committed within the garage was taken into custody without incident.
I thank all the government partners and outreach workers assisting with this effort. This initiative is a compassionate approach to ensuring the people who park in the garage are kept safe and that those who seek shelter in the garage are connected with appropriate supports and services.