LONGVIEW - The city of Longview has a substantial number of homeless people. During a public meeting Mayor Andy Mack declared there's a team of leaders in the making. They hope to reduce the homeless population.
"This is something that needs to be addressed in our community because it's an issue in our community," Mack said. "It's something that we pretend doesn't exist, but it does exist."
CBS 19 reached out the Highway 80's homeless shelter executive director, Eric Burger. He said the mayor asked him to serve on the task force. He went on to say the majority of the homeless are having a 'temporary crisis'. Burger said those are people others don't identify as homeless. He said homelessness can't be a approached as an individual issue, but a problem with multiple factors.
"What homelessness looks like for a single mom with three kids, versus someone who has an untreated mental health issue is entirely different," Burger said.
According to Highway 80, there's been an increase of homelessness in Longview. In 2016, the homeless shelter noticed a 20 percent spike in homeless people under 25.
Longview residents said are all for the idea of the mayor's task force. However, Burger said he wants to see people to step up.