NYS investigates House of Mercy following fatal stabbing

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — New York State is investigating a homeless shelter in Rochester that shut down a week ago after a resident was killed and another was injured during a brutal stabbing incident.

Those left homeless after the horrific crime have been lingering outside the building, waiting for the shelter they call home to reopen.

House of Mercy has been closed since police say Michael Nairy, 68, was stabbed to death on Aug. 7.

“They’re all saying, ‘Let us go back. Let us go back. Let us go back,” said the founder and former executive director of House of Mercy, Sister Grace Miller. “They want to come back in. They want to come back home. We’d love to have them come back home, but I’m concerned about the ramifications of what has happened.”

The beloved Sister Grace was on-site on Monday when a state inspector arrived.

“I guess [we are] to determine how we’re going to handle this place in the future with security guards and making security more secure here,” she said.

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, charged with shelter oversight, confirms that staff from its office spent time here at the shelter on Monday.

“They’ll do a thorough inspection before people are allowed back,” Sister Grace said. “They want to make the place safe and we all want to make the place safe. That’s always been one of our major concerns, being sure that our people are well taken care of, that they’re safe, and all of that.

“Staffing and security needs vary from shelter to shelter,” an Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance official said. “Each shelter is required to include in its operational plan, a safety and security plan detailing how the shelter will ensure the safety and security of residents and staff. OTDA reviews these plans and offers suggestions for improvement if necessary. Shelters across the state provide security that is appropriate for the shelter location and population. Staff are trained on techniques to work with clients to diffuse potentially volatile situations.”

An Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance employee did not comment at the center Monday, and no one from the OTDA office in Albany has since commented.

“Well, we are a shelter and the state does have rules and regulations for shelters,” Sister Grace said. “And we’re to abide by the rules and regulations. And we do try, because we try to keep the place as safe as possible. But sometimes, you don’t know who you are sheltering.”

House of Mercy leaders are not commenting on the incident, the investigation or the future plans for the shelter. But its former executive director says she does not plan to be silenced, for the sake of those who have come to count on her.

“We try to take care of every homeless person that comes to us,” Sister Grace said. “But I don’t know because of what happened, I don’t know what the future will hold.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button