Tyler police team up with local shelter to try to combat homeles - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Tyler police team up with local shelter to try to combat homelessness


Police all over the country are facing a tough new challenge with the homeless population; enforcing laws but still being sensitive to quality of life.

"Just bad choice after bad choice, addictions, drugs, alcohol," Emiley Plunkett says.

Emiley Plunkett had been on the streets for eight years when Tyler police officer Johnny Green found her in a homeless camp. She's now registered as a Texas citizen, and on track to marrying her husband-to-be.

The Tyler Police Department has partnered with the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that provides food, clothing, computer access and for most, housing.

"I care for most of these people and I just want to see the best for them, I want to push them in that right direction to get them off the streets," Officer Green says.

The department just recently donated 1,500 pounds of non-perishable food.

Police officers are assigned to specific areas in the city, where they go to homeless camps and interact with people staying there. If the camp violates property laws, the officers find them a shelter to stay in, instead of arresting them on the spot.

"That's been really nice for those who are homeless who would maybe sometimes be afraid of the police, to see them as a resource and as a friend," Hiway 80 Rescue Mission Director Dawn Moltzan says.

The mission's work is supported entirely through donations, and they say any help of volunteer work is appreciated.

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