Local News

Effort underway to better help Fayetteville's homeless

Posted January 29, 2015

— Chris German spent 12 years in the Army, serving two tours of combat duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.

German is part of the growing population of homeless veterans in Cumberland County. He says he got out of the service, and it did not take long for things to go downhill.

"It doesn't take long at all. The choices you make can affect you quick. Some slow, some not so slow."

Fayetteville police officer Stacy Sanders has been looking after the homeless for 10 years. She has heard stories like German's and says about 50 percent of the homeless she helps are veterans.

"It's heartbreaking. Unfortunately, a lot of them do suffer from some type of mental illness – PTSD – and they just are so brave that they don't want to know the truth. It becomes hurtful."

Several volunteers are counting the homeless. The numbers help agencies like City Rescue Mission provide hot meals, shelter and other services.

So far, 500 homeless have been counted. Experts expect that number to swell to more than a 1,000.

"I think it just needs to be one big shelter built in this community so that we can get some of these people off the street," City Rescue's Gladys Thompson said.

A shelter like that may be a long way off. Right now, the focus is on trying to provide services that help the homeless get their lives back on track.


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