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Port Arthur homeless outreach includes connections to mental health assistance

The Spindletop Center, in partnership with the Port Arthur Police Department, branched out to feed the homeless and distribute essential hygiene items on Friday.

Sgt. Heather Rowe speaks with an individual during a homeless outreach event.

But besides the paper sacks filled with a sandwich, snacks and water, and a nylon type bag with hygiene items such as hand sanitizer, toothpaste, shampoo and more, there was a laminated card with information on how to obtain mental health assistance.

“We are reaching out to the homeless to give them some lunches and some bagged essentials and some pamphlets on Spindletop and the services Spindletop has to officer,” PAPD Sgt. Heather Rowe said before the distribution began. “This is a way for us to get involved with the population that may not have access to these resources normally.”

Rowe is the department’s liaison with the Spindletop Center, and the ultimate goal of her job with Spindletop is to get with mental health clients before they go into crisis and continue to work with them by doing follow-ups.

Approximately 50 lunches and bags of essentials sat in the trunks of two vehicles, and Rowe and partners with Spindletop handed out the items to the individuals who had lined up outside the Hospitality Center at 3959 Gulfway Drive.

Nathan Carter was one of the individuals who received the bag lunch and bag of essentials.

“It will help, especially during the COVID pandemic,” Carter said. “It’s appreciated.”

Others sat down on the outside of the building with their daily lunch and chatted among themselves while distanced apart. Another set of folks set off on foot with their bags.

A second location for distribution was set up under the large metal awning in the 1000 block of Ninth Avenue where a large homeless encampment is visible.

Rowe said there are plans to do the outreach again in the future and use what they learned from this current event to make subsequent ones more impactful.

A view of the snack bags and water.