Little Rock trying new tactic to address homelessness in the city

Little Rock tries new tactic to reduce homelessness

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Feeding the homeless is what many people may think of when it comes to helping those is need, but one group in Little Rock wants to steer away from just simply handing out food.

A volunteer homeless task force was formed to provide the homeless with better resources after the city tried to introduce an ordinance that would limit the number of meals that can be served in city parks.

“I proposed tabling that ordinance and instead creating a task force to investigate if there were really a problem,” Vice Mayor Kathy Webb said.

Now, the task force is working to provide resources to help them out in the long run.

"Lack of food is not the problem," Webb said. “The issue is housing, it's mental health accessibility."

Webb said homeless people are on the task force and have guided the city to think about how it can reconsider providing for the poor.

"It's making sure that people know where all the mental health services are and where all the healthcare services are," Webb said.

David Deere with Faith Voices provided input for the task force. He is working with congregations in the area to encourage people to help out.

“The real issue now is probably not as much not serving meals as it is other homeless services," Deere said.

Deere said churches are a great place to get the message about providing resources to the homeless across.

"To become involved, we feel like the congregations are a good start for that because many, many people are a part of some sort of faith group," he said.

Webb said people on the task force are using other cities as examples to see how they help the homeless in their towns.

"I know that we've had people who have visited homeless facilities in Denver. I have been to Austin and people have been to Oklahoma City," she said.

The new plan will not be put together over night, but the task force is hopeful they can get the job done.

"With something like this it takes a while to develop find out what all the right practices are, get the people together and then get the right people engaged," Webb said.

The task force is also looking in to how they can keep these resource centers for the homeless more centrally located so they are easy to get to in the downtown area.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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