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Pre-filed bill would give police officers resources to help homeless

Pre-filed bill would give police officers resources to help homeless

WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

According to Crisis Ministries, homelessness is down across the nation, but the numbers are growing in South Carolina. Now State Representative Wendell Gilliard has pre-filed bill that would equip police officers with information to help the homeless.

"They woke me up at 2:30 in the morning and I'm getting carted off to jail," a homeless woman named Mary in North Charleston said.

"I'm a tough woman but it is scary...people are being treated wrongly for being homeless," she continued.

Mary she was one of several people we found at Tricounty Family Ministries who needed assistance.

"Right now we've got 4 people in our back yard at or picnic tables that don't have anywhere to go tonight," Tricounty Family Ministries director Sue Hanshaw said.

Hanshaw and her volunteers have seen the need and the increase in homelessness first hand.

"I think it's very sad. I think it's very scary. It could be any of our relatives living in the woods," she said.

"There should be some kind of system instead of people degrading you and making you feel you did a real crime," Mary said.

The pre-filed bill by Rep. Gilliard would require a set of booklets be given to all law enforcement agents. Those booklets would come into use any time the officers encountered someone homeless.

"Instead of telling that person to move along or you have to leave... Why not have a booklet in hand to give that person. In that booklet it would have important numbers... Whether it's food healthcare," Gilliard said.

If the bill passes, each county would be responsible for printing the material.

"Can you put a price on a life? We furnish booklets about dogs and pets. We are talking about human beings here. You can't put a price on that," Gilliard asked.

Image courtesy of WCBD-TV.

 

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