February 18, 2016 The Lubbock, Tx. Police Dept. have announced plans to Partner with the Business Community for a Homeless Outreach Team. Three Officers will be dedicated toward the effort from the Police Department. The goal of the Officers will be to connect homeless people with a variety of resources, including referrals to support services, like those providing shelters, housing and food. Their duties could range from directing those individuals to agencies that can help address mental health disorders or substance abuse issues when needed, to assisting in resume building or serving as a reference for a job.
Police Chief Greg Stevens said it is about putting the right people in the right place at the right time.
“We’re all different. It’s the same uniform everyone’s wearing but every one of us has different skill sets,” Stevens said. “These guys, not only are they good at it and can they do it, they want to do it.”
The team’s objectives will be to maintain public safety for all Lubbock residents and to seek lasting solutions for the homeless, according to a news release. “Our goal is to help the chronic homeless find permanent housing and become self-sustainable,” police said in a statement.
The team plans to help however they can. Homeless Outreach Team will especially work to provide the homeless with basic needs such as getting a birth certificate, a driver’s license or even a resume in order to seek lasting solutions.
“Maybe they don’t have the ability to do that so we will provide an office. We will literally shepherd these people,” Bergen said. “Let’s go to our office and let’s help you out.”
The team will be staffed by a Sergeant and two Corporals at this time Chief of Police Greg Stevens said. Although manpower shortages are an issue with the Department he cited this new unit as being a “Force Multiplier” during a news conference.
“In a time of manpower crisis that we face, it’s hard to make that decision to create a new unit, to stand up a new unit,” Stevens said, previously telling A-J Media his department is working to hire new officers to meet the city’s growing needs. “But I think it’s going to be a force multiplier that we can bring to bear so that other police officers who are not skilled and who are not good, like me, at dealing with homelessness issues — these officers, this unit will be a resource to them.”
Also involved with this endeavor is the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce who are very happy about the prospects. “This is a win-win situation for everybody,” said Beth Bridges, Chairwoman of the Lubbock Chamber. “The new team will help those who need it most and make sure downtown remains a safe place to do business all while saving tax payers’ dollars.”
The personnel were named as well. The new team is comprised of Sergeant Eric Quijada, Corporal Steven Bergen and Corporal Korie Archambault who are dedicated to helping the homeless find success.