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Fayetteville, Cumberland join forces to end homelessness

Posted May 14, 2015

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— Cumberland County and Fayetteville officials on Thursday announced a partnership to get the area's homeless off the streets.

Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson and Cumberland County leaders have long been concerned about the growing homeless population in the city and county, but they didn't know how to fix the problem.

During 2014, officials said, 384 homeless people were counted in the county, including 126 families. Another 472 people are at-risk of becoming homeless.

"I think that the first thing that pops in some people's mind is, 'Let's build a building and put all the homeless people there.' Well, that's just not going to happen," said Kenneth Edge, chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.

"Our goal is not to not give somebody a handout, but it's to give them a hand up," Robertson said. "Help them with resume building and job training and that kind of thing, too. Affordable housing is certainly a key."

Forty-six organizations are working in the county to provide transitional housing for 270 homeless people.

Officials said they are looking at how Wake County addresses its homeless situation.

"The model that we have in Wake County is to try and place somebody in housing and then to do the follow-up case management and make sure that they're OK," said AnneMarie Maiorano, Wake County's director of housing. "Make sure that they're functioning well, that they're maintaining their employment, if they've got mental health needs that they're seeing their doctor."

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