Pavilion cleaned as more people move into homeless shelter

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:14 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown’s temporary shelter for homeless or displaced people is expanding as crews work to clean up the pavilion where they’d been living.

The Butler Pavilion was the refuge for Watertown’s homeless. Now it’s empty and it needs to be cleaned.

At a Wednesday meeting, local leaders met and say the Watertown Department of Parks and Recreation will start the effort.

“Today we’re going to take down the tarps. We’ll take the non-perishable goods down to the new shelter,” said Watertown Parks and Recreation Superintendent Scott Weller.

Aiding in the cleanup are workers with ACR Health. Individuals will be able to coordinate with their syringe exchange program before moving personal items that were left behind to the new temporary shelter

“Those who have been staying there will have the weekend to claim what’s theirs and take that. Next weekend we’ll get rid of what’s left,” said Weller.

Meanwhile, the temporary shelter on Main Avenue is filling up with new people coming in every day.

“We’re almost crisis level if not already crisis level. It’s a serious situation,” said Jefferson County Legislator Scott Gray.

The temporary solution for up to 20 displaced people gives them a roof over their heads, a place to shower, and restrooms - all in a former car garage facility owned by PJ Simao.

One man getting help says this is better than being on the streets.

“I have a cot to sleep on instead of asphalt or the cement which is a nice comfort. It’s warm. I like that,” said Kevin Gioglio.

With an influx of people coming in and still no sanctioned solution, Simao is expanding the shelter by clearing out the building’s bottom floor just in case they have to place people down here.

“When I say temporary, it doesn’t mean for the next few days. It means if they need it for the rest of the winter, they’re more than welcome to use it,” he said.

Simao is not getting paid for his building’s use. Gray says the next step is getting local agencies together to figure out a permanent solution.