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Councilmember Peo Says No to Tiny Homeless Shelter, Issues Statement Explaining

Rochester City Councilmember Jose Peo

Rochester City Councilmember Jose Peo, regarding city council’s decision to build tiny homes for Rochester’s homeless population, says he believes the project is “a complete waste of taxpayer funds”

City council approved the measure last week with an 8-1 vote. Peo, who represents the northwest district, was the lone ‘no’ vote.

Rochester City Council voted on the $750,000 bill last week, to build new homeless shelters at Peace Village, a city sanctioned homeless encampment.

The project, slated for spring/summer, will include the purchase of 15 small shelters with two beds apiece, a community common space, two restroom facilities, and an office to be managed by PCHO (Person Centered Housing Options).

Peo sent a statement to media outlets Tuesday.

“Upon inspection of the invoice and feedback I received from speaking with constituents, I strongly believed it was a complete waste of taxpayer funds. I voiced this concern to both the Mayor and the President of City Council before it was put to a vote before Council,” the statement said.

“The question is: What underlying, systemic problem does this actually address? It does not, as I believe that it is just another short-term Band-Aid on the real housing and homelessness issue our City faces — and worse, it reallocates taxpayer dollars into the hands of the ultra-rich investors at Pallet, who are cashing in on the nationwide homelessness crisis.”

Peo says that City taxpayers will be paying the costs for these units and amenities, like free heating and air conditioning. “There is no information on who would be paying for the ongoing RG&E and water bills in the legislation.”

In the statement Peo said taxpayers want to know why city council was able to find funding for the tiny houses but not for several other initiatives like:

1. Help the working citizens insulate their homes to lower RG&E costs?

2. Fund the RG&E Implementation Study being requested by many of our constituents?

3. Fix the apartments of those living in squalid conditions due to absentee housing providers and/or poorly run management teams?

4. Fund public bathrooms downtown and in our parks?

5. Help the elderly and low-income by fixing their rundown, 100-year-old homes?

6. Take a City-owned building, renovate it, and house the homeless along with refugees?

“I believe God calls on us to take care of the homeless, poor, and needy, but He calls on us to do that individually, with what we can afford. He does not call on the government to force taxpayers to pay.”

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