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Man living under Lewis County bridge shares his story of struggle

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 10:00 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - On our 6 o’clock news, we told you about neighbors being concerned about people living under a bridge in Lewis County. Now we hear from one of those people, who is telling us about his struggle after being evicted a couple months ago.

A tent, a bicycle, and a wagon full of belongings. James Lynch has been living under a bridge on State Route 12 for two nights just outside the village of Lowville. The 31 year old was living with his wife, Rebecca, and four kids on South State Street, but he says they were evicted two months ago.

“There was no reason for us to even get evicted. We were being accused of destroying the place. There was no physical damage and whatever physical damage happened while we were there, we tried to fix it. We put a new floor in there, a new bathtub, a new sink. He wouldn’t keep up with nothing. We did our best to do what we could. He told us that he would fix the place up once we were out of there,” he said.

Lynch says he contacted the police about it but nothing ever came from it. After being evicted, Lynch says he’s been couch-hopping for the past couple of months.

His kids are staying with their aunt and uncle. Lynch has also been kicked out of his storage unit for trespassing.

“We hang out at our storage unit because that’s what we have left. I might have fell asleep there a couple times, but we’ve never really lived there,” he said.

So for now, Lynch is camped out under a bridge. It caught the attention of neighbors.

Lynch says he’s been recovering from addiction. He says it’s been tough, not just not having a home, but because it feels like the community has turned his back on him.

“I’ve been publicly shamed enough as it is. I don’t need...it doesn’t need to continue to happen. I can’t walk down the street without someone yelling, or making comments or taking pictures,” he said.

To complicate the situation, Lynch tells 7 News that he is set to serve six months in the county jail beginning Friday. He says the charge is unrelated to the eviction. In the meantime, he says his wife is going to go to Lewis County Opportunities, which offers resources for people seeking housing assistance.

Lynch says his hope is that once his time is served, he can reunite with his family and they’ll have a place to stay.

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