Over the last few years we have begun to see a significant increase in the number of homeless people forced to live on the streets of Utica and surrounding areas. Now, Oneida County and the City of Utica are teaming up to try and combat the growing problem.

In a joint press release both Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri announced a new partnership between their offices and local non-profit organizations to help resolve the homelessness issue, specifically in Oneida Square.

One of the consequences of homelessness in Oneida Square is the "integrity" of the neighborhood. The county and city press release reads,

As part of the measures taken, the County and City Departments of Public Works (DPW) are joining forces with manpower and equipment to clean Oneida Square (and the surrounding area) daily to protect the integrity of the neighborhood.

This solution is one of a few temporary solutions to try and immediately address the issue. Officials say this will serve as a "stop-gap" while they try and figure out a more permanent solution.

Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri says,

We all agree the status quo is not acceptable. While we must show compassion for those in need, we must also protect the quality of life of the residents, businesses and organizations based in Oneida Square, and throughout our community.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says,

Oneida County has been working diligently with many community partners to address the situation in Oneida Square for some time. The issues of mental health, substance abuse and homelessness that are having a negative impact on this area of the city must be dealt with using a multi-level approach.

Funding for several of these initiatives will come from the Emergency Solutions Grant funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Salvation Army and Rescue Mission, through the Utica Municipal Housing Authority. These early solutions will get homeless people off the streets during the day and provide essential services. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end to this homelessness tragedy in our city.

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