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Bitter cold increases stress on temporary housing for homeless individuals

Rochester's Open Door Mission had had already been seeing increased need for temporary shelter even more this week's frigid temperatures.

With this week’s bitterly cold weather it only increases the pressure on Rochester’s homeless population.

That’s according to Anna Valeria-Iseman, the CEO of Open Door Mission which is one of the main sources of temporary shelter for people in the city who have no place to live.

Even more this week’s frigid temperatures, Valeria-Iseman said the shelter had already been seeing a lot of need for housing.

“We are seeing over 100 people a night between our men’s and women’s shelters, and as the weather gets cold like this, especially what we’re seeing now, the need is even more, so we’re using every space on our floor and every bed and every cot we can find right now,” said Valeria-Iseman.

Valeria-Iseman said that the increased need for housing seen by the mission is likely due to a variety of factors, including a pandemic-era pause on certain types of evictions.

“With the eviction moratorium lifted, folks are going through evictions, there’s not as much availability for affordable housing (and) just available rental properties, (in general)” said Valeria-Iseman. “There’s just not enough to meet demand and what’s out there is not affordable.”

When the weather gets this cold, Valeria-Iseman said that she and other staff and those from other shelter providers will go out into the city and try to let people who are living on the streets know where they can go to get some temporary housing and transportation to get there.

The Open Door Mission is also looking for donations of warm winter clothing and underwear.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.