Improving Conditions for Fresno's Homeless

June 10, 2009 9:18:31 PM PDT
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is already working to make good on a plan to reach out to the city's homeless. Two weeks ago in her state of the city address she announced she would close Fresno's homeless encampments and find permanent housing for individuals.Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen handed a check for 82-hundred and 50 dollars to Larry Arce of the Fresno Rescue Mission on Wednesday ... it was money raised in January from a community event called One City One Future.

"We know that the Rescue Mission is one very important piece of the puzzle but that many different organizations need to come together to address the issues of homelessness and families that are struggling in our community," said Swearengin.

"Her support just shows her heart ... not just about the mission ... but about the downtrodden in our community," said Arce.

In addition to the check ... the city is spending several hundred thousand dollars to move the homeless into more permanent housing.

Over the last two weeks the city's Homeless Community Management Office has collected more than 250 assessments from individuals in these encampments ... they're now going through the assessments and linking people to needed services ... the most important need is housing.

51 year old Edward Jones says he wants to get off the street ... he just doesn't know how

"I wanna get out of here ... this is not my way of living ... I have work skills ... but then how far can I go having a record? A prison record? You know," said Jones.

Edward Jones is losing hope of finding a better life ... his friends, Cindy and Marcelle, say they'll believe the city's really doing something for the homeless when they see it.

They all may see something soon ... The city says 14 property owners have committed space for the homeless already.

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