Montgomery cleans up underpass, helps homeless veteran
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - City crews worked to clear the area of the Ann Street underpass as part of Montgomery’s plan to address homelessness.
“I think it leads to a more compassionate and equitable community. And that’s what we’re trying to bring about at all levels of this city,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said.
City crews partnered with Montgomery police and the Alabama Department of Transportation to help ensure it was free of dangerous waste and biohazards.
During the cleanup, city officials said a military veteran who had been sleeping under the bridge was able to receive help and services. He has now been approved for an apartment.
Two others also voluntarily received help ranging from free transportation and food to medical care, city officials added.
Montgomery police Capt. Brian Champlin said it’s important that people in the community help connect unhoused people to resources they need to sustain themselves long term.
“It’s really important to us and making sure that everybody has food, access to medicine, access to safety, and somewhere safe to sleep rather than underneath a busy interstate,” Champlin said.
Champlin added police being a part of this initiative helps create trust between the community and law enforcement, showing them that they are “there to help them.”
“I feel like we did that today,” Champlin said, “We have more work to do.”
The Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless is one of the partners for the city’s homeless initiative. You can donate to the organization here.
In April, city officials announced a task force aimed at addressing issues related to homelessness.
The task force, called the Mayor’s Task Force on Addressing Homelessness, will evaluate existing policies and investigate additional policies regarding housing, shelter, health services and panhandling. The mayor also wants your feedback through an online survey. He says the city can’t solve this problem alone.
In July, the city and county, along with The Central Alabama Community Foundation, created the Give Smart initiative to tackle panhandling. It allows people to make donations through their phones, and that money goes to organizations that serve the homeless.
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