Community meets with Chamber of Commerce to discuss homeless population

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PORT JEFFERSON STATION -

Members of the community met with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss what they say is a growing homeless population in Port Jefferson Station.

The meeting comes after video released last month showed two homeless people performing sex acts at a bus stop in broad daylight near a shopping plaza.

Resident Barbara Vincent was at that meeting, and says she doesn't feel safe leaving her home and wants to see some of the nearby shelters looked at or shut down.

"You have to step over people or as soon as you pull up your car, they come running. ‘You got money? You got cigarettes? You got this? It's got out of hand,” she says.

Traci Gibbs, a chaplain, has worked to connect the homeless with resources in the area. She urges people to empathize with the homeless.

"There are people who live paycheck to paycheck who wind up becoming homeless,” she says.

Gibbs says shutting down the shelters isn't the answer.

“Let's say the shelters were closed. They'll be in the street. We'll be like the foreign countries where they're actually laying in the street,” she says.

The Chamber of Commerce released a statement saying in part, "We wanted to show how proud we are of the place where we work and live. We were there to bring the community together and encourage shopping and support of the businesses in the plaza."

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