Local News

Fayetteville offers homeless tickets off the streets

Posted November 16, 2010 6:08 p.m. EST

— Fayetteville officials on Tuesday launched a program they say will reunite homeless people with their loved ones.

The Homeless Reunification Program will pay for a one-way bus ticket for any homeless person who has a point of contact – relatives, a shelter or other support agency – at his or her chosen destination.

Shenequa Miller, for example, is heading to Maryland with her 1-year-old daughter. Miller said she left an abusive relationship but had nowhere to go but the streets of Fayetteville.

"That's where all my family is – my support system – and I don't have anything here," she said of her decision to head to Maryland. "I'm going to put in for housing and look for a job while I'm up there ... Hopefully, something will come through for me."

Stacy Sanders, a Fayetteville police officer who works with the city's homeless, said the program is designed to help them line up needed treatment.

"Whether it's drugs, like I said, whether it's mental issues, whether it's some type of medical situation that's causing them to be on the streets, the family is the best starting point (for help)," Saunders said.

Fayetteville isn't using the program to run the homeless out of town, she said.

"No, no, no, we're not doing that," she said. "If we have the facilities here, we're going to try to help them here – the rehab, mental health, the hospital, things like that. But unfortunately, a lot of families are out of town."

Fordis Ascendo said he has lived on Fayetteville streets for five years. Now, he wants to go to Massachusetts to be with his mother.

"I want to see her," Ascendo said. "It will help me a lot."