By Sean Robson, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Helping out in any way possible, that’s the mindset Sarah Schutt and Brenda Mims carry as they arrive to work each day. The percentage of homeless on the streets of Central New York has slightly decreased in the last four years. Nonetheless, their effort to end the social issue won’t end until each person is cared for.
Schutt, a Homeless Management Information System Administrator, has one goal: to get the homeless off the streets and put a roof over their head. Her work falls under the Housing and Homeless Coalition branch of the United Way.
“We have a lot of meetings and a lot of committees that work on targeted populations like homeless youth, street outreach population so the street homeless veterans task force…” said Schutt.
The Housing and Homeless Coalition initiated a ten year plan back in 2011 to end all homeless in Central New York by 2021. They were off to a fast start by ending veteran homelessness in the area within the first few years. Unfortunately, chronic homelessness and especially teen homelessness still remains a very pressing issue.
“That’s a population that’s really hard to locate and find and give an accurate description because a lot of times youth are in doubled up situations,” said Schutt. But she makes it her goal to make these issues known, especially to her kids, “They understand that there’s homeless people and there’s homeless kids with mommies and daddies and they’re living in a shelter and have nothing and I think it’s a great perspective to give them because then they’re more appreciative of what they have.”
Brenda Mims strives to make a difference in peoples’ lives too but not from behind a desk. Mims, the Operations Assistant at the Samaritan Center in Syracuse wants to make sure no one goes hungry. She describes the lunch and dinner rushes at the center off North State Street as, “chaotic.”
The Samaritan Center operates solely off of overstock from nearby restaurants like Bonefish Grill and Red Lobster. They’re open each day of the week and supply anyone with a meal (regardless of financial status) for free.
Mims found herself in a position of need once before and has made it her goal to payback the care and nourishment she once received. She noted one instance where she found a woman sleeping on the sidewalk and went out of her way bring her to nearby shelter so she could sleep in a bed that night, “It made me feel warm inside… knowing I was going home to sleep in a warm bed and she was too.”