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New Homeless Shelter Offers Rochester’s Homeless, Protection From the Cold

High Falls, Rochestesr NYSince city workers bulldozed Sanctuary Village under the Frederick Douglass Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge in Rochester in December, the tent city has been a hot topic for discussion. Now, the homeless village has finally been moved into a shelter — temporarily.

In January, property management and development firm Buckingham Properties offered a vacant building off Canal Street for a temporary shelter for the residents of Sanctuary Village, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. The shelter opened last week.

Preparation of the building took a couple of weeks, as there were safety and liability concerns. These were all sorted out by Buckingham and volunteers from the House of Mercy. Co-founder of the House of Mercy, Sister Grace Miller, says that the DiMarco companies provided a heater for the space, and that fire alarms, a second exit, and a sprinkler system were installed.

“I think they’re doing a great job,” Sanctuary Village resident Joe Daddazio told the Democrat and Chronicle. “It’s going to work out if we all work together.”

Though the shelter is open 24/7, unlike other shelters in the city, this is only a temporary fix for a very real problem. A permanent shelter would help, but it does take a lot of resources to provide spaces like the one on Canal Street. The use of the space was made possible by around $80,000 in donations in addition to the generosity of Buckingham, reports TWC News.

Sanctuary Village runs exclusively from donations, so purchasing and maintaining a permanent space is a challenge. There are things that could be done to outfit an existing space to operate on a lower budget; for example, spray foam insulation has the potential to reduce heating costs — which rise significantly during cold Rochester winters — by up to 50%.

The good news is that Sanctuary Village will be housed in the Canal Street location until April — by which time the frigid temperatures will have subsided.