Brevard law enforcement is changing how it deals with homelessness thanks to task force

The woman was panhandling at the intersection of Eau Gallie Boulevard and U.S. 1 when she was approached by a Melbourne police officer.

Cmdr. Marc Claycomb didn't chastise or arrest her. He talked with her about her situation. He learned she has two children and a husband who's out of a job; that they're living in a Melbourne hotel. And then, he offered his knowledge of services that hopefully can lead to a better life.

That approach is part of a countywide effort to best share resources and tackle problems related to homelessness, from lack of affordable housing to mental health issues. It brings together the Brevard Homeless Coalition — which consists of more than 70 nonprofits, churches, colleges, and government organizations — with law enforcement who regularly come in contact with displaced people and issues related to their situations.