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South Coast Law Enforcement Agency Reaching Out To Homeless With Helping Hands, Instead Of Tickets

Homelessness has been a growing issue for much of the Central and South Coasts. But a program spearheaded by law enforcement in one community is trying to tackle it one person at a time.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Detective Chris Dyer just faced that issue in Camarillo. But instead of telling a homeless man to move along, he helped him find a path to get his life back on track, and reunite with his family.

Dyer says he asked the man about his situation, and did some research. He found the man’s family in Reedsport, Oregon. The man had been living in the Camarillo riverbed for about six weeks, and didn’t want to be there, or to be homeless, but also didn’t have a plan.

But, Dyer says just reconnecting the man with his family wasn’t enough. He says he knew they had to get to the issues which led to the homelessness. It meant getting him behavior health assistance for some of the issues he’s facing, as well as a commitment to find a job.

Once the family, and the homeless man agreed to the plan, Dyer drove him to Burbank Airport. That happened over the holidays, with the 46 year old man being reunited with his family.

The detective is focused on dealing on homeless issues through a unique program in Camarillo called Helping Our Community Progress Efficiently, or Project HOPE.

It’s run by the law enforcement agency, but Dyer says what really makes it work is the program is plugged into other agencies in the county which work with the homeless.

Instead of being focused on things like opening shelters, it’s goal is to work one on one with those on the streets to find the combination of things which can be put together to return them to life within traditional society.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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