Homeless population rises 400% in Oswego County, 75% in Cayuga and Onondaga

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s an alarming concern to start the new year.

The homeless population is up 75% in Cayuga and Onondaga counties and 400% in Oswego County.

“We have seen homelessness on the rise in our shelters and in our street outreach numbers. This isn’t a big surprise to us,” said Megan Stuart, the director for the Housing & Homeless Coalition of Central New York. “I think the jump, how significant the jump was a surprise, but we knew we’d see increase.”

Stuart says the main factors are the increase in rent and housing costs.

“Rents have jumped up 30% in the last three years,” said Stuart. “That is a significant jump for renters to try and cover, especially folks that are some sort of fixed income, public benefit.” We’re seeing folks priced out of the homes they’ve lived in for years. We’re seeing folks who have an emergency and have to take care of that rather than being able to pay rent and losing their housing because of that.”

To combat the problem, Stuart says communities need to look at creating affordable options.

“One of the best strategies we have is to increase affordable housing, safe affordable housing in our community,” said Stuart. “Really, what we need from folks is when there is a project proposed in our community to support it and share that support.”

Until a solution is found, those without places to go have resources.

“We really need folks to, when they find themselves in that situation, to call 211, to call emergency referral lines to get into an emergency shelter,” Stuart said. “Across our three counties, we try and make sure everyone is inside and safe. There is room for folks, especially when it is code blue, which is when it is below 32.”

A helping hand is always at the ready.

For more resources, click here.

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