Calls grow to help Rockland's homeless
There are growing calls to address the needs of Rockland County's homeless after News 12 discovered an underground homeless colony in Spring Valley.
Rockland County is the only county in the state without a shelter for single men and women, says Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence. He says that the need in the county is greater than most would imagine. "I heard the county quote there is only 150 homeless people. They have their head in the sand if they think there is only 150 homeless people in a population of 350,000," says St. Lawrence.
County Executive Ed Day insists that those in Rockland County who seek help receive it. "We can certainly look at that but I would challenge the significance of the issue in Rockland," says Day. "We do have an aggressive outreach program with Helping Hands."
Helping Hands is the only outreach program for the homeless in Rockland County, says Day. Every night from November to April, the program brings homeless people to local churches to escape the cold weather. Day says there's been a 36 percent increase in demand this year.
Helping Hands executive director Ya'el Williams says the county's resources are diminishing, though. "Rockland needs a definite full-time shelter," says Williams. "As wonderful as our service is, it's volunteer. It's not sustainable. "