NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Montefiore celebrated its one year anniversary in New Rochelle with a bang on Thursday, making a sizable donation to HOPE Community Services to help combat homelessness in the city.
One year to the day that Montefiore took over New Rochelle Hospital, city officials joined hospital doctors, staff and administrators to present HOPE Executive Director Carole Troum with a $25,000 check that will help house the homeless on a full-time basis.
With the grant money, HOPE is funding a 24-hour Homeless Resource Center that is open seven days per week. They also have hired a new housing counselor to run a navigation system designed to find permanent housing in Westchester County for the homeless at HOPE.
“When I started her six years ago, I saw all the homeless people wandering at night, literally freezing to death, and it broke my heart,” Troum said. “I knew we needed 24-7 coverage and we needed to get them to another place, we don’t want to just warehouse them.”
According to Montefiore officials, the number of homeless people in Rochelle has increased significantly, increasing from 82 in January of 2012 to 130 by the end of 2013. It is projected that this winter will see the largest number of homeless cases in southern Westchester in history.
Montefiore New Rochelle Executive Director Anthony Alfano said the harsh winter last year led to New Rochelle police officers delivering homeless to the emergency room for shelter, which put additional stress on the ER.
Alfano said that with the new housing counselor in place looking for permanent alternatives for the homeless, he expects there to be less of those instances as winter approaches.
“This is something we identified early on, that we needed to get a 24-7 shelter, and now the patient navigation system can help (direct) find where there’s help available in Westchester County,” he said. “This is a great way to kick off our second year in the community.”
In the two months that HOPE has operated its full-time shelter, the agency already has assisted 16 homeless families and hopes to maintain that pace of permanently relocating as many as eight cases each month. “With HOPE now bolstered with a case manager, it’s clear this is already moving in a clear, positive direction,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said. “HOPE is providing the help to the people so they can provide help for themselves.”
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