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Fayetteville Police Seeking Out Homeless

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Many homeless people take refuge anywhere they can get relief from the cold.
FAYETTEVILLE — Most people take shelter and a warm bedfor granted, but for others, the streets are home. That's why police inFayetteville are trying to make sure the homeless stay safe this winter.

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

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

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

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

The police know they can't make the homeless get off the streets, butthey 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 canget free food.

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

Photographer:Mike Joyner

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