Officials brainstorm on battling homelessness

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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – Breaking down homelessness in Jefferson County – officials want to know the scope and the issues of those who don’t have a place to live.

It was eye opening in August when people in Watertown were displaced from their Factory Street apartment building, forced to live in a makeshift tent city

At a summit in Watertown Wednesday, director of Jefferson County Community Services Tim Ruetten laid out how it happened.

“That is a whole different issue than homelessness in and of itself,” he said.

What happened at Factory Street has brought homelessness into the spotlight.

More than 30 non profits and organizations in Jefferson County gathered to examine the scope of homelessness in the area

“We have to have a coordinated emergency response that really includes multiple entities throughout our community,” said Ruetten.

The summit helped to start that conversation. The group is looking at the strengths and resources already out there as well as gaps in services.

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