Local News

Fayetteville Police Seeking Out Homeless

Posted November 26, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Most people take shelter and a warm bed for granted, but for others, the streets are home. That's why police in Fayetteville are trying to make sure the homeless stay safe this winter.

Fayetteville police have done an extensive search for the homeless for the last four years. Officers go out into the city and identify all of the homeless people who live here. So far they've identified 200 new homeless people just this year, but the program goes much further than that.

Lillian Daniels lives under a bridge in Fayetteville. She says it's safe than many places.

Officers such as Sergeant Steve McIntosh try to ensure that Daniels and other homeless people are safe. Every day, McIntosh and Officer Venetta Settles travel around the city in search of homeless people living inside abandoned buildings and in need of help. Settles says when it's cold, the homeless will often take risks they wouldn't otherwise.

The police are also making sure no one's setting fires in abandoned buildings. Investigators still believe that's what happened two years ago when the old Lafayette Hotel burned to the ground. So, to keep the homeless warm they hand out blankets, clothing, and personal hygiene kits.

The police know they can't make the homeless get off the streets, but they figure if they can make life a little more comfortable the homeless won't have to resort to putting themselves and others in danger.

Police also hand out fliers promoting shelters where the homeless can get free food.

As a way to help identify all of the homeless police take pictures to keep on file along with information about what kinds of assistance each person has been getting.

Photographer:Mike Joyner