The Dallas Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team cleaned up an encampment of homeless people under an interstate highway overpass yesterday and and tried to help those who were living there. It's part of the unit's effort to offer services to the homeless, says the Dallas Morning News. It can be a grueling and thankless task. Many people pack up their things and move down the street only to return to the encampment later. And some days, only one or two people accept help like a ride to a shelter, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services.
“You just have to keep going and believe that people can change, otherwise we would just feel frustrated all the time,” said Dave Hogan, who heads the Crisis Intervention Team. “It's not going to be a huge percentage. It just takes awhile for people to get there.” The team also responds in other areas when code enforcement receives complaints about crowds, encampments, trash and crime. It's a delicate balance for the team. “You want to preserve the rights of the homeless individual as American citizens, then you also have to deal with the greater issue of public safety,” Hogan said. The goal is to do more than just push people out of an area. The team hopes to encourage life changes that can get people off the streets permanently.