The Goldsboro Police Department and City of Goldsboro are undertaking a new long-term effort to help the homeless in the community.
Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West says they’re seeing an influx of homeless persons in the city, particularly in the area of Spence Ave, Royall Ave and Sunburst Drive.
Chief West says GPD officers are learning what resources are available in the community, and will then work to direct the homeless toward that assistance.
For instance, the Goldsboro P.D. recently helped a homeless individual get a valid I.D. so they could start searching for a job.
Major Dean Edwards says it’s worthwhile for the GPD to develop relationships and trust within the homeless community.
In some instances, the homeless may even provide tips on those in their community that may have committed crimes or have active warrants.
Assistant to the City Manager Octavius Murphy says a first step is trying to understand the needs of the homeless in Goldsboro and Wayne County.
Then, officers can start pointing the homeless toward the help they need.
The American Rescue Plan is providing funds to the City of Goldsboro for addressing the homelessness issue, and Murphy says the city is happy to partner with other agencies to find more funding and help.
Sometimes, there is crime that is associated with a homeless population, but the goal will be to point the homeless toward services that can assist them with their situation before that crime happens.
Of course, if there are complaints, arrests will still be made.
Chief West says this is about taking a proactive approach and helping to keep homeless individuals from becoming caught in the revolving door of the justice system.