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The Crisis Intervention Homeless Street Outreach Unit is responsible for reducing chronic homelessness by addressing individuals who

are residing on sidewalks, streets, and who are residing in encampments under bridges and other remote areas. Outreach specialists engage the homeless in a nonthreatening manner in order to identify deeper needs, and by encouraging them to accept voluntary treatment and shelter services. It is the responsibility of outreach specialists to ensure that homeless individuals are treated in a humane and professional manner, and not infringe upon the client’s rights and self determination. Overview (Jefferies Street Encampment) For several weeks, crisis outreach teams have persistently engaged a number of homeless persons living in a large trash-filled encampment situated along public right-of-way on Jefferies Street near the Austin Street Shelter. The encampment consists of several tents, tarps, cardboard boxes and crates in which several homeless men and women are residing, and include additional groups who commonly socialize within the encampment while awaiting the evening opening of the Austin Street Shelter. In addition, the encampment also includes a wide assortment of tables, wood-chairs, recliners, cooking stoves, and numerous bicycles parked along a blanket-draped fence-line. Staff from the Austin Street Shelter often brings hot meals and water to the encampment, and frequently allows them to utilize shower facilities. Passerby’s often bring additional sustenance, blankets, etc. which has created a perception of satisfaction and self-sufficiency among the residents. Therefore, those who have taken up residence or utilize the site for socialization routinely refuse offers for services, and greet outreach teams with hostility and threats during visits. Inter-Departmental Initiatives It is important to understand that those who reside in encampments are victims in need of recovery in order to become stable and independent. Identifying the underlying causes of homelessness along with effective collaboration involving homeless-serving outreach create a more effective manner in which to address the issue of encampments. In addition to performing outreach, it is the role of the Crisis Outreach Unit to coordinate inter-department and inter-agency initiatives designed to address homeless encampments citywide in a humane and therapeutic manner. Interventions involve the therapeutic and nonthreatening engagement of homeless persons residing in encampments that involve multi-city departments and collaborations that include police and sanitation, behavioral health providers, shelters, and veterans’ organizations. Interventions are never defined or viewed as “sweeps” or “clean-ups”.

Response: Jefferies Street Homeless Initiative On December 6th, crisis outreach workers coordinated an inter-departmental initiative specifically targeting the Jeffries Street Encampment. Officers from the Central Division provided safety and security during the initiative while crisis outreach specialists circulated throughout the encampment offering shelter and services which three (3) individuals accepted, including transportation to a treatment facility and another shelter. However, most of the residents simply loaded and pushed their grocery carts to a safe distance, as others folded their tents, collected cardboard and walked down the street to wait. Items abandoned or left on the street were removed by street sanitation workers. Throughout the process, outreach workers continually verbally reminded and encouraged the homeless to keep control of their personal possessions such as money, medications, identification cards, benefit information, family pictures, Bibles, and anything of a personal worth. Per written policy, outreach workers are not allowed to touch or handle the client’s possessions for any reason, and are prohibited from forcefully removing or grasping any item from a homeless person while it is in their possession. In addition, crisis outreach workers are prohibited from removing individuals, threatening or even suggesting that individuals leave an area.