County Executive Steve Bellone (center) touts the benefits of the county’s new sex offender monitoring efforts in Hauppauge last week. (Credit: Tim Gannon)
East End towns and villages are now under political and media pressure to participate in Suffolk County’s sex offender monitoring program. This program is operated, under contract with the county, by the Parents for Megan’s Law advocacy organization. Taking a position against a new sex offender monitoring program, here or anywhere, will not help me win any popularity contests. However, I think it’s important for us to take an objective look at this program’s potential impact on the community, its taxpayers and those it targets before jumping on the “Let’s get tough with sex offenders” bandwagon. (more…)
Former taxi driver Charlie, homeless since September, sits outside the Riverhead Free Library one recent afternoon. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)
John’s Place and Maureen’s Haven are programs whose main objectives are to help the homeless. In the winter months, these nonprofits work with various churches across the East End to provide dinner, a place to shower, a safe environment to sleep in overnight and a place to receive a bagged lunch for the next day.
A Riverhead man was arrested last month after he allegedly attacked a homeless man with a hammer near the Grace Episcopal Church, officials said. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
To the editor:
Concerning the article about the rising homeless population: I take exception to the inclusion of the one comment by an acquaintance of the man who is homeless who was hit with a hammer that “he probably deserved it.” (more…)
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Former taxi driver Charlie, homeless since September, sits outside the Riverhead Free Library one recent afternoon.
On a recent weeknight, one Aquebogue church is barely visible from Main Road in the pitch dark.
But around back, the lights are on and 13 cars are parked in the rear lot, one van having just left. Inside Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, some of the area’s homeless are gearing up for a hot meal and warm place to stay.
Our Redeemer is just one of two houses of worship sheltering the homeless across the East End this night, part of a group of nearly 40 that unite each week during the winter — through local nonprofit Maureen’s Haven — to put a roof over the heads of the local homeless population.
It’s an effort that has required a heavier lift this year than in seasons past; Maureen’s Haven appears on track to serve more homeless this winter than ever before. After topping a previous high last season, housing 312 individuals over 108 nights, the organization has already served over 80 percent of that total this year, with nearly another month to go.
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Melissa Barrington, 33, of Riverhead broke down into tears as she told her story of becoming homeless in 2012.
Some of the area’s most vulnerable people have been hit harder this winter than any in recent memory — and much harder than the average citizen. While most of us grapple with icy roads, higher-than-average heating bills and the overall nuisance of having to bear nearly five feet of snow, an undetermined number of homeless people wander local streets daily.