UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri recently announced a collaborative effort to address homelessness in the county particularly in Oneida Square.

“We have homelessness, we have addiction we have some issues of mental health and certainly the economics of what has taken place,” Picente explained.

The city and county along with community organizations have come up with temporary solutions to combat homelessness, drug addiction and mental health issues until a comprehensive long-term plan can be formed. The county and city Departments of Public Works will clean Oneida Square and the surrounding area daily to protect the integrity of the neighborhood. 

“We’re usually not in the business of public works in the city per se but in these circumstances because of the other services we have and are working on in that area and because of the high volume of problems that have been there and certainly waste it becomes incumbent of us to be apart of that and to try and keep it clean,” Picente said.

The City of Utica will be using money from the Emergency Solutions Grant to pay the Salvation Army and the Rescue Mission of Utica to provide homeless individuals with a place to go during the day. They will also  receive vital programming and services in coordination with the Oneida County Department of Social Services personnel. These services include mental health and drug rehabilitation, among others. I will be speaking with mayor Palmieri more about these programs later in the week.