The Living Well will present a public exercise Friday, Oct. 27 at the Penn Yan Public Library to raise awareness and examine the issues of homelessness here in Yates County.

Community leaders, teachers, students, and other volunteers will
roleplay the struggles our local homeless people face in their day-to-day lives. Several prominent figures, some running for public office, are also volunteering to raise $1,000 each in their roles.

At a recent workshop organized by Rev. Sandi Perl, representatives from school districts in the county, Department of Social Services and other human service agencies estimated the number of homeless people in the area, including many children to be about 90. These people believe they have run out of options financially, legally, and socially; many unemployed or unemployable, some with a history of criminal or mental health problems, with no income, and without friends or family.

Speakers at The Hidden Homeless will answer questions of — Who are the homeless? Where are they? Where do they sleep? What do they eat? What about the children? What does it cost us?

A free community “soup kitchen” will be serving hot soup, coffee, and snacks, but with the reminder that this food is often the only thing a homeless person or child will have to eat in a day.

The encampment will show some of the different situations the homeless find themselves existing in: a couch, a tent, a car, or a box, for example.

Each homeless volunteer will be presented with a different scenario to act out. 

Homeless volunteers

• 4 p.m. Becky Perrault, Penn Yan Central School District

• 4:15 p.m. Todd Casella, Candidate for Yates County District Attorney

• 4:30 p.m. Tom & Susan Close, Yates County Progressives

• 4:45 p.m. Dawn Dennis, Cornell Cooperative Extension (ret.)

• 5 p.m. Eric Detar, Keuka College Chaplain

• 5:15 p.m. Valerie Gardner, Yates County District Attorney

• 5:30 p.m. Karen Heitmann, Penn Yan Elementary Teacher (ret.), Living Well Volunteer

• 5:45 p.m. Patrick Killen, Town of Jerusalem Supervisor

• 6 p.m. Carlie Chilson, Candidate for Yates County Legislature