Residents say Main Street has a homeless problem

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As a five year resident of the 500 block of Main Street, Don Warfe couldn’t be happier with where the neighborhood is headed.

As progress rolls through, he says there is one lingering problem; it’s something he’s afraid guests at the new Hilton Garden Inn will soon notice as well.

“If they see it filled with vagrants, homeless people, people panhandling for money, that’s not a good message to send back to travelers about Buffalo,” Warfe said.

Warfe says he’s dealt with some homeless at night using his front door as a bathroom. “It’s not uncommon for me to have to hose out my vestibule here from excrement or urine,” Warfe said.

Others who work in the area say people panhandle on the street every day.

“They see who’s a prospect to give them money and just ask away,” Morris said.

Warfe partly blames nearby social service officers such as the nearby HEAP office and a parole office across the street.

“I’ve seen drug deals go down right in front of the parole office. They come out of the parole office and do their deals right there,” Warfe said. He thinks police could do more to help move homeless out of the area.

A Buffalo Police Department spokesman says they have a special detail five days a week to address this problem, but Warfe says too often officers don’t get out of their cars.

“I just think if something isn’t done now to offset this. It’s just going to backfire on everyone who’s invested so much money and time into building this area up,” Warfe said.

A Buffalo Police spokesman says the detail to address homelessness includes the Main Street and downtown area and does include foot patrols. He said police work with outreach agencies to help the homeless get the help they need.