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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Police say the homeless population continues to grow in the Port City, and it did not happen overnight.

Over the past few days Wilmington has seen several incidents involving men and women who call the streets home.

“I have ran into over my career, whether it’s Myrtle Beach or Clinton Police Department, transporting homeless people here and dropping them off,” WPD Lt. Michael Fanta said.

Fanta has spent the last 18 years serving and protecting the streets of Wilmington. He was one of the officers who responded to a body found Wednesday morning on N. 3rd St. Police say the victim, Kendrick Glenn Gore, 50, lived under the bridge where his body was found.

Fanta says Wilmington’s reputation for helping has made it a place homeless people seek out.

“I think that the message that it sends is that there are a lot of civic groups, organizations and churches that like to provide assistance to these people in the homeless community. The problem is that this assistance that they are providing is allowing the homeless community to flourish here in Wilmington,” Lt. Fanta said.

Not everyone agrees.

The Good Shepherd Center in Wilmington provides meals and beds to help people get back on their feet.

“We all have a responsibility to repair the world and take care of one another, and I think if someone has hit hard times, that it behooves all of us to do what we can to help our fellow brother and sister,” Good Shepherd’s Jane Birnbach said.

For now, both charities and police are tasked with dealing with the city’s homeless hoping for a day the numbers get better.

Police are not the only tool the city is using to deal with homelessness. Back in 2008 Mayor Bill Saffo appointed a steering committee to oversee the development of a 10-year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness.

Today we could not reach anyone involved in the project.

A link to the plan on the city’s website brings up a photo of a tree.

Comment on this Story

  • stephanie

    I am a mother of 2 children, yes a Christian, Girl Scout leader active in my community. Even helped out at a shelter with serving food. Well, guess what!? Due to extreme joblessness and no way to leave Wilmington to find work elsewhere, my children and I are homeless and living in a shelter. We are not bears or cock roaches, we dont pee in your yard nor do drugs or steal. Most of the people I have spoken with at the shelters don’t either. My story is not unique, there are lots of families like me out there and it is only going to increase. Church groups, civic groups and individuals that come dish food on a plate is a very noble task. Some people I suspect do it and thank God that they are not “like us” But from what I have seen from my perspective is we dont so much need people to dish food on a plate and pity us behind our backs BUT those said groups to take a more active role and actually mentor or even take a single mom and her children into their home or somehow be supportive to us.I am lucky I have a car but many parents do not. Many of us have no family or social support and are alone. Before I fell on hard times, I was working full time making $13 an hour.


  • Yes there is crime in the homeless population, but most crime is still committed by people who have homes. And though homeless services attract homeless people, the truth is, they need those services so to get out of homelessness. Homelessness is not a “police” issue, nor is it a “religion” issue. It is a health issue, and the only people who are going to be successful at ending homelessness are the health and human services professionals. There are programs available, such as Housing First, that has been proven successful at reducing homeless populations. It is time for people to stop pointing fingers, and stop trying to confuse the issue with inane political banter, and get serious about dealing with the issue.

  • beach guy

    The first thing we need to look at is the salaries of the directors of these non profits… misery as well as religion is big business if these folks are truly serving the community out of compassion and religious conviction it should be for free. If you remove the public funding and then make a non profit report salaries publicly and publicize them (WWAY) you would stop all the private funding because everyone would see where their good intentions are going.
    I know this sounds hard and devoid of compassion but we need to stop encouraging folks to give up. At the very least we should stop importing other towns and cities problems.

  • Just Another Commentator

    Homelessness is a serious social problem for everyone, there are no winners. As we search for solutions it is surely important to consider the many causes or co-existing conditions associated with homelessness. The point of this comment is to share the statistical value representing homelessness and mental health challenges. Studies consistently reveal just slightly over 4 times the rate of mental health issues amongst individuals who are homeless as present in the mainstream U.S. population. In addition, similar studies reveal a very high estimated presence of substance abuse amongst those who are homeless, at approximately 38%. These are not human challenges that go away just because a policy is changed, they have to be treated. We have a truly multidimensional challenge as a community and more broadly as a society.

  • Debbie Grigsby

    I am 56 years old and a retired RN d/t a disability. I have been laid off from other types of jobs twice in the past 5 years. I am repeatedly turned down from jobs or NEVER hear back from ones I apply to. Due to not being able to pay my rent now, I will soon be evicted. Not wanting to have it come as a shock, I have started looking into what I can do and where I can go. Not finding any help at this time. Section 8 is closed. Shelters only for men, people with addictions, for domestic violence. I don’t fit any of those. I already get food stamps, so food is not an issue. What I need is a roof over my head and bed to sleep in. Is that asking too much? I would gladly live in an abandoned house. I have a tent and camping supplies. I would not be a “problem” homeless person. I have about 5 more years until I can retire officially. What can I do in the meantime? I just want to survive.

  • Debbie Grigsby

    Dear Mother of 2:

    I agree with everything you are saying. I have found as I research (because I soon will be homeless) that there are many shelters designed for men, addictive behaviors, and domestic violence. My husband and I do not fall into any of those categories. My husband is applying for disability and I also applied for disability d/t being layed off and giving in to the health problems I have been struggling through for years. We get food stamps, so we are not hungry. What we need is a safe roof over our heads and a bed to sleep on. Too many abandoned houses here is Wilmington, and many more new ones being built.

    I don’t think the homeless are “flocking” here. The homeless are from “here”.

    I just want to wish you and your children “good luck”. If I could help you, I sincerely would take you in. I love your last sentence and wanted to let you know. :)

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