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Police say Wilmington too inviting for homeless

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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.

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