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Homelessness in Rochester

Are you currently homeless, at risk of homelessness, or know someone that needs help? 

If you are in need of emergency shelter now, call the Monroe County Department of Human Services: (585) 753-2780 from 8 AM to 3PM, Monday-Friday.  After 3 PM and on Weekends/Holidays call (585) 442-1742.

Youths and Young Adults: Call the Center for Youth 24-hour hotline: (585) 271-7670, or the national 24-hour crisis hotline: (888) 617-KIDS (5437), or email:

Domstic Violence: If you are in danger, call 911.  If you need immediate assistance, call the Willow Domestic Violence Center 24-hour hotline: (585) 222-SAFE (7233), or email:

If you need information on available services or have questions, call 2-1-1/LifeLine (dial 211) and explain the situation. A representative will be able to provide you with information and referrals to community organizations that may be able to help.  Don’t want to call?  Text 2-1-1/LifeLine at 898211.

Also of great assistance in exploring your housing options is The Housing Council hotline: (585) 546-3700. 

The City of Rochester supports the greater Rochester community initiative to end homelessness in our area. Currently, the City is collaborating with Monroe County to fund a comprehensive approach designed to provide services that help homeless people get themselves back on track faster. This new approach, based on the central principles of self-sufficiency and responsibility, is a collaborative model that builds on existing resources to address critical gaps in services. In working to reach the goal of ending homelessness in our community, the focus is on connecting with and serving people who have been homeless for a long time, as well as on the growing number of homeless families with safe and supportive housing. 

When it comes to addressing homelessness and the need for affordable housing, the City of Rochester, Monroe County, and the area’s homeless service providers, housing providers and funders collaborate, and are committed to, assisting the homeless and to helping individuals and families avoid homelessness.  

The City has a long history of providing quality, affordable housing for citizens. It recognizes that affordable housing is vital for overall economic and community development. Affordable housing also prevents homelessness and provides permanent solutions for those who have experienced homelessness.

Eliminating homelessness is this community’s goal. It is a difficult one to achieve and reaching it requires efforts that go far beyond our considerable investments in affordable housing.  The City also focuses on—and is strongly committed to-the following priorities:

  • Preventing homelessness
  • Rapidly re-housing individuals and families who become homeless
  • Ensuring that appropriate services are available to support individuals and families facing homelessness

Rochester is extremely fortunate to have dedicated and talented individuals from many organizations who are strongly committed and provide leadership in this effort. Collaborations between the City of Rochester and the County of Monroe, in partnership with the many organizations that fund and provide services to the homeless, including the Rochester Housing Authority, have resulted in efforts that are well organized through Partners Ending Homelessness and the Homeless Services Network.

Homeless Services Network

This organization facilitates networking, coordination, consultations and fundraising among individuals who work for, or with agencies who provide high-quality accessible and effective health, social, housing, and other services to people who are homeless. Its members represent more than 50 community agencies, including Monroe County, the City of Rochester and the Rochester Housing Authority.

Continuum of Care

The Rochester-Monroe County Homeless Continuum of Care is now Partners Ending Homelessness. This team is composed of staff from Monroe County, the City of Rochester, the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Homeless Services Network. This group facilitates and evaluates the implementation of Rochester’s Homeless Continuum of Care Plan. Each year, they coordinate the community’s submission for the federal department of Housing and Urban Development’s Super NOFA (Notice of Funding Availability). This includes collecting community data, ranking proposals to meet community needs, and writing the Rochester/Monroe County application for HUD funds. 

10-Year Plan to End Homelessness

Evidence of our community’s exemplary cooperation is the substantial planning and implementation that has been completed, including:

  • Homelessness Resolution Strategy Final Report 
  • Housing Options for All: A Strategy to End Homelessness in Rochester/Monroe County 

    This document describes the Rochester area’s plan to end homelessness in response a challenge from HUD to do so. The so-called “10 Year Plan to End Homelessness” is currently being updated. This 2007 document was the culmination of input of 200 persons over a period of 18 months. It includes input from a wide cross-section of the community, including homeless and formerly homeless individuals, service providers, members of local government, representatives from health and human services providers, business, criminal justice and neighborhood groups. The recommendations included three main thrusts: prevention, comprehensive support services and the development of affordable, appropriate permanent housing. The current update will assess the progress of the plan and make adjustments based upon recent data, including new information relative to the homeless strategy work underway and the completion of some large affordable housing developments geared toward providing permanent housing options to the homeless. The update is anticipated being completed before the end of the year.

Rochester Monroe County Supportive Housing Plan

The supportive housing plan is a means to address all three components included in the 10-Year Plan to end homelessness mentioned above for persons who are most likely to be homeless repeatedly or for long periods of time. The Plan provides guidance and recommendations for increasing the availability of supportive housing. It includes an assessment of housing needs and gaps among those facing homelessness and who are in need of affordable housing. It also examines ongoing supportive services, projections of the types and quantities of additional permanent supportive housing units required to fill the need over the ten-year period, cost projections, identification of available permanent supportive housing funding resources from public and private sources and best practices from other states and communities. 

Homelessness Resolution Strategy: Housing First

To provide support of the above efforts, the City of Rochester took the initiative in 2010 to lead a collaborative team including Monroe County and key housing agencies to implement the most vital initiatives called for in the plan to end homelessness and launched the Homeless Resolution Strategy.  This includes the development of a coordinated entry system to help better identify and meet the needs of those threatened with homelessness, and the development of “Housing First” permanent housing options for the most difficult-to-serve homeless populations, who often suffer from chronic chemical dependency and mental illnesses. Read the final report and action plan for this project.

City of Rochester Programs for the Homeless

Over time, the Rochester community has developed a robust system to assist people facing or experiencing homelessness. This system includes shelters, transitional housing and permanent housing solutions in addition to a wide range of services. The City will continue to work towards conquering these difficult issues and stay focused on expanding and improving current efforts.  These include:

Creation of Permanent Housing Units and Solutions for the Homeless

The highest priority for the Continuum of Care has been establishing permanent affordable housing for the homeless.  At this time, there are more than 1,200 permanent housing units in Rochester and Monroe County that are specifically dedicated to help meet the needs of people who become homeless.  In the last decade, the City has dedicated $10.5 million in HOME funds and $6.1 million
in cash capital funds for affordable housing development.

Emergency Shelter

The following agencies provide temporary or transitional shelter for the homeless or for specific populations of homeless.  Many of these agencies also assist the homeless with services such as employment, access to health care, drug abuse and education resources and general information and referral to community resources:

For Men

Catholic Family Center Francis Center  
Catholic Family Center Sanctuary House 
Dimitri House (from October through April) 
Open Door Mission  
Salvation Army 
Unity Health  

For Women 

Catholic Family Center Women’s Place

Sojourner House

Salvation Army 
YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County   

Parents with Children

Community Place of Greater Rochester 
Mercy Community Services 
Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network - RAIHN
Salvation Army
Volunteers of America - Guest House 

For Youth and Young Adults

Center For Youth 

For Veterans

Salvation Army 
Veterans Outreach Center 
Volunteers of America  

For Special Situations

Spiritus Christi Prison Outreach 
  - Jennifer House for women
  - Nielsen House for men
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA): 
  - Catholic Charities Community Services
  - Trillium Health 

Homelessness Prevention

Wilson Commencement Park

Rapid Re-Housing

Coordinated Care Services Inc

Please note: While every attempt is made to keep this list of community services up to date, changes in service offerings may change or otherwise be unavailable. It’s always best to call 2-1-1 for available service options.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

The City administers a grant from HUD and has provided $3.9 million over the past six years to participating agencies to help provide housing subsidies for individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS.  Service providers include:

Tenant Education and Eviction Prevention

The City has provided funding to the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Monroe County Legal Assistance Center and The Housing Council for tenant education aimed at reducing transiency and professional legal assistance to low-income households facing eviction. 

Foreclosure Prevention

The City established one of the most effective and long-standing foreclosure prevention programs in the country through The Housing Council and Empire Justice Center.  Counseling and legal assistance are provided to help homeowners avoid mortgage foreclosure. This program was central in reversing the trend of foreclosure Rochester experienced a decade ago. 

Additional Information/Documents