ROME, NY — Naomi Fosella is afraid to leave her home with her two little girls in her Rome neighborhood where homelessness and drug addiction are growing concerns.
“We were driving home from the grocery store and there was a gentleman with no shirt on and he was standing on the sidewalk, injecting himself and he was beside himself, you know?” Fosella said, swaying, for effect.
Some homeless people in Rome are congregating in a vacant building a few doors down from the Rome Rescue Mission on East Dominick Street, which is around the corner from Fosella’s home. She feels their plight, but challenges some of their actions in front of her two little girls.
“They’re fighting each other and now they’re relieving themselves in front of my kids and they’re stealing from people’s backyards. All my lights have all been turned off,” Fosella says.
The Rescue Mission saw the problem coming, post-Covid. They say homelessness isn’t the only challenge some of these people face.
“We’re trying to navigate through this stream of people who come to us with serious mental health and addiction issues,” said Matt Miller, executive director of Rome Rescue Mission.
The Mission can graze, but it cannot surround the people it serves.
“We can encourage and we can refer people and we can work with our partners in the community, but if they refuse to go, they refuse to go,” says Miller.
Fosella filed several police reports and even called Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo’s office on Thursday, asking for help for all.
“Someone has to either help these people, you know, they can’t be lying on the street,” Fosella says. “These people need help and the people who live on that end of town need help too, the residents need help.”
NEWSChannel 2 has contacted the chief of police and the mayor of Rome and is awaiting a response.