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Community Groups Helping Manteca's Homeless Get Ahead

MANTECA (CBS13) – Over the last few weeks, residents in Manteca have noticed a big change at local parks. The number of homeless people has dropped dramatically.

Police credit a coalition of service providers who have worked hard to build strong relationships and get those less fortunate the help they need.

From the time resource officers encounter a homeless person; they say it takes 45 days for them to earn their trust and get them far away from the streets.

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Morgan Castillo, 25, says he was saved from the streets he called home for nearly three years.

"They showed us love, I really never experienced that as a kid or as a young adult but when I met them they just loved me for who I was," he said.

InnerCity Action is a nonprofit organization. It's part of a coalition of service providers and community resource officers in Manteca who take people like Morgan and give them a second chance at life.

"It's working out very well because you see those who get cleaned and sober off the street because a lot of people aren't too sure about the programs but they see the other ones, they let them test the grounds a little bit and they see that it's working for them and so then they want to jump on board, too," said Frank Saldana, with InnerCity Action.

And it's one of the reasons why the number of transients and other unwelcome visitors to local parks has dropped off significantly.

"People that you would think are gone, there is no hope for them and see them completely turned around, sober, with a job, in a house, there is nothing to describe it," said Tim Welsh, president, Manteca Gospel Rescue Mission.

The coalition of service providers also includes partnerships with companies like Amazon, Uber and various apartment complexes eager to help the homeless find work and shelter. Its tough love, some say, that makes a difference.

"That's my main goal, to get the resources to people. I wouldn't say aggressive. Aggressive is a bad word, but maybe I try to force people into getting themselves better and off the streets," said Mike Kelly, Manteca Community Service Officer.

Since the partnership began, close to two hundred homeless individuals have been successful in turning their lives around finding jobs and places to live.

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