Richard Bell, contracting officer for the Civic Center LDC, said the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the possibility of contracting with a security company to conduct sweeps of the garage and remove anyone who is living there.
“It is a matter of negotiation. All we’re doing is recommending to the board to authorize a contract with someone,” Bell said. “There is no date set in stone (but) it will be soon enough.”
Homeless advocates and shelter leaders also plan to attend the meeting and protest the plan to remove people living in the structure during the winter.
“I’m afraid we’re going to hear that someone froze to death outside,”said Sister Grace Miller, of the House of Mercy homeless shelter, on the possibility of homeless being put out during the winter.
The garage was privatized in 2003 and is owned by Civic Center Monroe County Local Development Corp., a nonprofit company. Miller said local homeless and shelter leaders have been meeting with city and county representatives for months to find a solution to the issue.
“We’re pleading with the city and the county and the LDC board to please work with us,” Miller said. “We’re all willing to work together with them to make this building that we need for the homeless a reality.”
Darryl Johnston, of Rochester, lives at the House of Mercy is one of at least a dozen homeless who plan to attend the meeting Thursday.
“I’m fighting for homelessness. I’m homeless,” Johnston said. “I can just imagine that if I did sleep in the garage and they threw me out in the cold, what would happen. We’re here to stand up for what we think is right.”