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Audio Transcript: City of Oswego Addresses Homelessness
By Alexandria Bennett OSWEGO, N.Y. (NCC News) — The City of Oswego has allotted $25,000 of their budget to address the growing population of homeless and at risk individuals within the city. With the new budget, the city has partnered with a local social services organization to increase the amount of resources available to those who are suffering in the community.
Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) has created a new program. OCO provides street outreach sessions throughout the city every Thursday to Sunday. Available to locals are things such as individual assessments, curbside counseling and prevention education. Jill Griffey, Contiuum of Care Program Manager at OCO shared where the problem is stemming from.
“There’s a lack of affordable housing in Oswego County,” Griffey said. “I think that’s probably the number one reason.”
Along with the street outreach sessions, the outreach staff provides information and education on homeless services available in the community to business owners, City of Oswego Departments and/or employees. According to Griffey, OCO realizes there are a variety of barriers to obtaining and maintaining permanent housing. Things included may be mental health, health and substance abuse issues, lack of financial resources and legal issues.
The staff aims to provide referral, advocacy and support to participants to access and utilize needed community resources including advocacy to overcome barriers to housing.
Griffey said that she wants to ensure a couple of goals are met not that the program has started.
“The most important thing is education,” Griffey said. “When we do come across individuals who are homeless, we want to connect them to services.”
Proposed outcomes of the services include providing bus passes to individuals at risk of or homeless to connect to services, provide access to food and increase knowledge of homelessness across the city.
The program runs from August up until the end of December.