Connect with us

Local News

First-ever chief homeless officer hired by the City of Little Rock



Little Rock, Arkansas – Matthew DeSalvo has been appointed as the first chief homeless officer by the city of Little Rock.

DeSalvo claimed to have a servant’s heart.

“It is just driven by my faith,” DeSalvo said. “I feel that is what we are really called to do, but I think on the day-to-day I have always had a heart for vulnerable populations, and I have a heart for the community. I want to see things change and I want everybody to have an opportunity regardless of class, socioeconomic status, race, gender, color.”

DeSalvo is aware of the difficult task ahead of him, but he is ready to meet the problems head-on.

“This is the opportunity now to pour into those who may not have an opportunity and then watch them grow and watch them thrive,” DeSalvo said.

He continued on to say, “They need some help and they need people who believe in them and want to be there for them.”

Every year, data on the total number of homeless persons in each county in Arkansas is released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. According to the count, there were about 800 homeless people in Central Arkansas in 2023.
DeSalvo, nevertheless, claimed that figure was not entirely correct.

“We are missing a lot of people and some people do not participate,” said DeSalvo. “On the day-to-day from what I have seen it does not come anywhere close to matching the actual number.”

He is attempting to remedy that. DeSalvo noted that they must first ascertain the number of individuals they are collaborating with in order to obtain the necessary resources.
He declared that he has a vision for their needs, which begins with housing and healthcare.

“We need more treatment program opportunities for not only recovery from substance use disorder but mental health and physical health,” DeSalvo said. “They are the two keys are we are missing so much of that.”

DeSalvo concluded by saying that the fight against homelessness will require a village.

“The vision is grand, but we are just going to need some time and need people to be patient with us because it is going to take time, but it is going to take everybody,” said DeSalvo.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *