Advocates prepared to defend homeless living on Spectrum's property

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – They were asked to move out – but some don’t want to go. Now, homeless advocates are standing guard at the tent city on Spectrum’s property.

A handful of advocates sit at the encampment on South Avenue.

“We set up a phone tree, so there’s somebody there every hour,” said Sister Grace Miller of the House of Mercy.

That’s because, on Tuesday, Spectrum and Rochester Police showed up to get the homeless people living on the private property to leave.

“They’re human beings,” said Miller. “Don’t just push them around. Sit and talk to them.”

Many did leave, however some stayed. Miller said there is a reason for that.

“What people have to understand is that there are homeless that can’t live with others, in a community or the way homeless shelters are,” she said, “and they really need their privacy.”

Spectrum says it has helped the majority of the homeless find a place to stay – even an apartment for free. And, the company continues to work with this group to ensure its members have safe housing.

Miller says there are serious issues with housing for the poor in Rochester, and it takes a long time to get people into them.

“Some people have been homeless for so long,” said Miller. “Some have mental issues and really can’t live in an apartment, and they’re in for a short time – and then, the next thing you know, they’re back out on the streets again.”

It’s unclear how long Spectrum will allow the nearly 10 people left in the tent city to stay on the property. For now, Miller says advocates will be waiting.

“We have our eyes and ears wide open,” she said. “So if they make moves, we’ll be ready. What the final outcome will be, I can’t say. But if we need to boycott Spectrum, if we need to protest in front of them, we will.”

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