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Lawrence residents wary of homeless men

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The reported appearance of two homeless men living in an area between the Long Island Rail Road in Lawrence behind two residential buildings at 220 and 230 Central Ave. in the village has residents asking what they should do.

Wendy Gerzog, president of the co-op board for the building at 230 Central Ave., said that she found one of the men sleeping in one of two the trash enclosures that are behind the building and face the train station platform.

“There was a guy wearing a black hoodie, skinny and 5-2, “Gerzog said. “I called the 4th Precinct. One night in the park (Zion Park) at night he was seen [urinating] in the park.”

Gerzog said a Nassau police officer responded but there was nothing that can be done at that time. She also said she called the LIRR and the Metropolitan Transit Authority police responded. Gerzog said they looked around but did not see anyone.

In the photographs taken by Gerzog on Sept. 6, it appears that at least one, if not two people are more than likely hanging around and even sleeping in the area as she has a photo of a mattress, which as also seen at night on Sept. 12.

Village of Lawrence officials confirm the presence at least one person that is apparently homeless in the vicinity of the park and the adjacent train station. “We have witnessed a gentleman at the Lawrence train station and the memorial park,” said Gerry Castro, the village’s deputy administrator. Castro’s description of the man matches Gerzog’s. “He was not approached, seems extremely quiet,” Castro added. “We realized in a day or two he was staying in the area.”

Nassau County Police Department Det. Christopher Barling said there is not much that the police can do unless the re is a crime being committed. When police respond to a report of a homeless person, Barling said the police urge them to accept shelter, and the police will drive them to the nearest shelter, and if they need medical care the police call for an ambulance to take them to a hospital. If they appear mentally unstable and could pose a threat to others or themselves, the police typically take them to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

“The Nassau County Police Department ensures that aid, care and support is provided to persons in need,” Barling said. “If they refuse shelter they are referred to the Department of Social Services or for [military] veterans, the United Veterans Beacon House.”

Castro echoed what Barling said about what could be doner. Both noted the use of warming centers and shelters in the winter and cooling centers in the summer.

A police officer that lives in one of the two buildings suggested that residents be aware of their surroundings to increase safety. “I want to feel safe as I live on Long Island,” Gerzog said, “it needs to be cleaned up back there.”