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The Salvation Army's 'Night Watch' crew continuing to make impact on homelessness in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — The Salvation Army has started the Night Watch crew program to fight homelessness in Tulsa.

FOX23 met the leader of the Night Watch as they went out into the community and got a first-hand look at the areas they said have continued to grow in need of services.

“I think anyone whether you are homeless or not you want to feel loved and cared for,” said Vanessa Close, administrative assistant with The Salvation Army.

Every Tuesday the Night Watch crew meets at the Center of Hope in downtown Tulsa in hopes of making a difference.

Close said the team is made up of volunteers, employees, and anyone who wants to help.

“People who work for the local Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center and men who are currently going through the program or have recently graduated,” Close said.

Chief of the Night Watch, Scooter Lewis, has a personal connection with the cause having experienced homelessness himself.

Lewis said the Salvation Army helped him turn his life around.

“When I went through the ARC, I was lost and hopeless and I did not think there was a way out. I was just bound by addiction and hopelessness, but I was shown by the salvation army there is a different way,” Lewis said.

After bringing a smile, food and sometimes prayer, the Night Watch team also provides the option to come back with them to the Center of Hope.

“We can take up to three men and women every night. We just recently switched to having reserved beds so the next day they can have an opportunity to get a permanent bed in our shelter where they then get assigned a caseworker,” Close said.

The Salvation Army said they’ve seen a greater need for outreach in recent years.

“I’ve seen it grow, I have seen it expand outside of the downtown city center. So it meant a lot for me when I became a part of the Salvation Army to be a part of a team where I can tell my friends and family ‘I am going out there and I am meeting the people and actively trying to get them on their feet’,” Close said.

At the end of their Night Watch mission, Close said the team circles up and debriefs the evening by discussing who they met and how they can continue to make an impact.

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