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Local homeless losing place of shelter

Rochester, N.Y. - Tighter security at the Civic Center is supposed to clear homeless people out of the heated parking garage.

The first of November, officers with the Rochester Police Department will sweep the building and vacate all of the homeless people.

Privately owned, the parking garage will restrict access at nights closing certain entrances and requiring a key card to get into the parking garage.

Homeless since 2009, Johnny Merrell said he has lived inside the Civic Center for four years. You got to make do with what you can however you can, Merrell said, its warm and its dry.

Communications Director at the mens shelter, Open Door Mission, Christopher Scribani said the Civic Center is one of the few heated places thats open 24-hours.

Theyre all looking for a warm place to stay and there arent too many warm places left in Rochester.

Scribani said that parking garage has become a hotspot for the homeless. Thats a really busy place; we really need more shelter space for these gentlemen.

Open Doors executive director, Michael Hennessy said hes been talking with the city, trying to find a way to accommodate the homeless people that will be kicked out of the Civic Center.

Were going to have to relax some of these rules, Hennessy said.  

The shelter plans to ease up on its intoxication policy and welcome back people who have been removed or suspended from the shelter.

There is a risk, Scribani said, we have to be careful of people who are under the influence in any way. We got to monitor them, supervise them and keep an eye on them all night.

Merrell said the lax in rules wont do much good, the lack of space at local shelters his biggest concern. They dont have room; they told me they couldnt find a bed and good luck.

Open Door Mission has 40 beds and it is already at capacity, which is unusually early for them.

Merrell said come the first of November, he doesnt know what hell do or where he will go.

Its either someone go commit a crime or sit outside and freeze, I think theyll go commit a crime. At least in prison, Merrell said, you have a place to sleep and food to eat.

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Washington Times