Homeless woman off the streets thanks to effort from Social Services, law enforcement

Authorities said in a Facebook post that they initially got calls in March about a homeless woman living on the street and possibly in need of help.

News 12 Staff

Dec 7, 2022, 3:40 AM

Updated 533 days ago

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An elderly woman suffering from chronic homelessness is now off the streets of White Plains, thanks to a months-long collaborative effort from Social Services and law enforcement.  
Authorities said in a Facebook post that they initially got calls in March about a homeless woman with more than 25 bags of her belongings living at a bus stop.
Officials visited her several dozen times over months, offering the woman help with no success.

Previously negative shelter experiences and bad luck trying to find housing on her own led her to lay her head there.
Westchester Social Services Department Operations Director David Toledo met with the woman one night and finally convinced her to let him get her the help she needs.
She now has her apartment with access to Social Services to get her back on her feet. The bus stop has reopened.
"If we force them to get the services, what we're going to do, we're going to alienate them. We're going to push them away. We have to be patient, we have to be consistent, we have to have the endurance to be able to be patient and work with them," says Toledo.   
Unfortunately, this woman's situation is not unique.
Approximately 1,600 people are homeless each night in Westchester. Most live in shelters like the two run by Lifting Up Westchester.
"These are American refugees and they really do need our help and support," says Anahaita Kotval, CEO of Lifting Up Westchester. 
A lack of affordable housing, low wages and a failing system could be to blame.
It's a complex solution but it starts with more funding, better mental health resources, and a commitment to cheaper public housing.
"What we don't do early, we end up doing late, but we still have to do it because they deserve to have a safe place to live and the ability to build a quality of life," says Kotval. 
Lifting Up Westchester stresses proactive work could prevent the next bus stop from becoming a home.


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