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Housing Advocates Under Fire



Local advocates for unhoused individuals are under fire after making distasteful comments on social media.


The recent incident involves comments allegedly made on social media by Jennifer Martinez and Rebecca Miglioratti, two Department of Human Services supervisors, has sparked outrage among the Rochester Alliance for Housing Accountability (RAHA) and elected officials and have raised concerns about the cultural problem within the Department of Human Services and the ability of these individuals to provide compassionate care. 


“I’d be living in the homeless status because it’s a chore for me to just brush my hair.”, Rebecca Miglioratti allegedly wrote. “I do live in homeless status more than not, hahaha. Life is hard. 😂”, Martinez responded.


RAHA says the incident highlights a cultural problem within the department and raises questions about the ability of these individuals to provide compassionate care to the homeless community. The organization has demanded a meeting with County Executive Adam Bello, public apologies from Martinez and Miglioratti, appropriate disciplinary action, the creation of a Housing Task Force with unhoused representation, and the employment of peer navigators to assist unhoused individuals in transitioning to permanent housing.


Housing advocates say the comments made by Martinez and Miglioratti demonstrate a lack of empathy and professionalism expected from individuals working in homeless services. 


“That made me feel like you really don’t care about me, that it’s a big joke. If you’re basically feeling that way about the homeless community, you don’t belong in that position in the first place,” Angela Mines, an unhoused person in Rochester.


In a statement to the press, RAHA recommended that the county create a Housing Task Force and say their demand for appropriate disciplinary action aligns with the need for accountability in this situation. 


“The county must enforce its anti-discrimination and human resources policies to address the behavior of its employees. By taking decisive action, the county can send a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated and that the well-being and dignity of unhoused individuals are of utmost importance,” the organization said.


“The creation of a Housing Task Force with a majority of unhoused individuals is crucial to ensure that their voices are heard and their needs are adequately addressed. Including unhoused individuals in decision-making processes can lead to more effective policies and initiatives that address the root causes of homelessness. By actively involving those with lived experiences, the county can foster a more compassionate and inclusive approach to homelessness.


The employment of peer navigators, individuals with lived experience of homelessness, can play a vital role in assisting unhoused individuals in transitioning to permanent housing. These peer navigators can provide valuable insights, support, and guidance to those facing similar challenges. Furthermore, their presence can help change the culture surrounding homelessness within the Department of Human Services, promoting empathy, understanding, and a more person-centered approach to addressing homelessness.


This incident highlights the urgent need for the county to address the cultural problem within the Department of Human Services and take appropriate disciplinary action. By meeting the demands put forth by RAHA and actively involving unhoused individuals in decision-making processes, the county can work towards creating a more compassionate and inclusive approach to homelessness. It is essential to remember that the well-being and dignity of unhoused individuals should always be at the forefront of any efforts to address homelessness.”


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22. Jan.

I wouldn't call them advocates. They work for the Department of Human Services.

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