BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Each year, the Homeless Alliance of Western New York works to eradicate the number of people who are considered to be chronically homeless – meaning they haven’t had a home in a year or longer.
In the last seven years, the organization has seen significant decreases in that number: 2010, it was over 400; 2015, sat at 44; 2016, 17; today, 6.
However, the director for the organization says they’re seeing an increase in people who are in the brink of being considered chronically homeless.
“What people who are experiencing homeless need most, is a home,” said Dale Zuchlewski. “People just need a place to live and as Buffalo’s rent is increasing, it’s getting harder.”
The director says the state is working to make sure there is enough affordable housing but it’s tough with so many high-end apartments being built downtown and many people being forced from their homes due to the inability to pay the rising costs of rent.
“It seems like it’s a never-ending line of people that are about to reach that strict definition [of chronically homeless].”
The director says there are many ways to help including donating to organizations who assist the homeless, providing personal hygiene items for homeless people.
“They just want some basic items and it’s really heartbreaking.”