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Homelessness decreases by 6% in central New York, continuing downward trend

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
A view of downtown from the Rescue Mission in Syracuse.

According to the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Central New York’s annual report, the number of people living on the streets and in shelters in a three-county area is down 6% in the calendar year that ended in September. 

Coalition Executive Director Megan Stuart said that continues a downward trend.

"We’ve decreased homelessness pretty constantly since 2012,” Stuart said. “There’ve been a few years where it fluctuates, but we’ve generally seen it trending downwards, which is great.”

There are a total of almost 4,800 homeless people in Onondaga, Cayuga and Oswego counties. Numbers fell in Onondaga and Oswego counties, and remained stable in Cayuga County. Stuart credits agencies working together to stop people from becoming homeless, and then a rapid rehousing program that gets individuals into temporary housing quickly. She also noted more affordable housing coming online has helped.

"We’ve had three affordable housing projects open up just this year,” Stuart said. “We’re looking at a continuum in the next year to see what we can do to pave the way for more affordable housing and create a community plan to do that.”

Going forward, there are still challenges. Stuart said one goal is getting a handle on youth homelessness, which often goes under the radar.

"It’s an interesting population because a lot of youth experiencing homelessness are couch surfing, or don’t meet our definition of homelessness of being in shelter, so it’s harder to identify,” Stuart said. “So, we’re gonna work together to make a list of youth experiencing homelessness and make sure there are enough services.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.