Manteca police and community turning around the lives of those living on the streets

Laid off in Colorado, Carl Phillips, was living in his car for over a month with his two young girls.

"It's brutal. The heat. I've got a car, black interior, black exterior. It's just demoralizing," Phillips said.

But an unlikely hero entered Phillips' life in the form of Manteca Police Officer Mike Kelly.

"Everybody out here on the streets has a family. A lot of family want to see them get better," Kelly said.

When Phillips searched online for shelter he found Manteca's Hope Ministries and director Michelle Whitaker.

She spoke to the officer who in turn got Phillips a hotel room and off the streets to get help.

"I'm shocked. Where I'm from you don't have this interaction between city and community resources," Phillips said.

Officer Kelly is Manteca's lone Community Resource Officer, meaning he deals strictly with helping the homeless.

A former booking officer for 16 years, he has been on the streets with the homeless for a year now.

So far, he has helped 139 people get services to get off the streets.

"It's a community effort. It's something not just me doing. It's something the community has pulled together," Kelly said.

And the community effort involves shelters like Hope Ministries and director Michelle Whitaker.

She is a former meth addict who was once homeless 7 years.

She now has a college degree and runs the emergency shelter, getting Officer Kelly's referrals.

"And with partnering with us then they have somewhere to bring them. Where we have been through it as well," Whitaker said.

Daniel Hernandez had two days left in a hotel before he and his family would have to live on the streets.

That's when Officer Kelly jumped in. 

"He contacted Michelle and here at Hope Center and got me in the next day and got my family off the street," Hernandez said.

One thing Officer Kelly has learned with the homeless living in the parks is that they are getting fed too much and given clothing they can't use.

He wants it to stop.

"Because in the park people bring food and they just have to be at the park and they'll get fed and they can sell their food stamps and buy drugs."

He says donate to agencies.

In the end, it will help those like Carl Phillips fulfill his goals.

"Stable employment and my own home."

If you would like to donate, contact Hope Ministries of Manteca at 209-824-0658. 

To donate clothing contact the Hope Chest at 209-824-5638.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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