The Falconer Mayor and some businesses are expressing concern about the placement of people by the County Department of Social Services at a hotel in the village.
Mayor Jim Jaroszynski, speaking at the Chautauqua County Legislature meeting, said the use of emergency housing for people with substance use, housing, or mental health issues in the village has become a crisis, “We are a village on the move in the middle of a revitalization. We have private investment and, hopefully soon, public investment. We do not have access to services or different resources to help the individuals and families being placed in the village. It has become overwhelming to our local police and fire departments as well as disrupting many of the lives of the residents and the quality of life they expect in our village.”
Jaroszynski said that since January 1, 2023, Ellicott Police have responded to 146 calls to the Budget Inn with the Falconer Fire department being called there 35 times, “I’m not saying I don’t understand the need for housing for these individuals and families, but it seems they’ve been reduced to one choice by the county and they’re all being placed in Falconer. And, honestly, we have safety concerns for any family that’s being placed there with differing levels of needs.”
Jaroszynski said following surveys and meetings with residents, he is requesting the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services relocate the emergency shelter program from the Budget Inn.
Persnikkity Pies Owner Amy Pierce echoed Jaroszynski’s concerns, requesting that the County stop placing people with severe mental health and substance use issues in the village, “It’s taxing on everyone and, to be quite honest, it’s unnerving, especially to young people in the community who are just trying to walk through the village, walk dogs, my own children are trying to walk their dogs and they’re afraid of people who quite clearly have major drug habits and are out of control in the village.”
County Executive PJ Wendel said it’s a challenging situation, “Yes, it’s an increased problem and we have to look at it and we’ll take this into consideration. I have a meeting this afternoon with our Social Services Director and Mental Health and this will be a topic of discussion.”
Wendel said he understands the frustration folks have in the village, but asked they remember that the folks being placed are human beings too.