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San Mateo County Homeless Program Expands to Half Moon Bay

$300K in Measure A funds will be used to increase the services of the Homeless Outreach Team, a collaborative, countywide program to address issues associated with chronic homelessness.

Living under the Main Street Bridge.
Living under the Main Street Bridge.

The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), a countywide program to address chronic homelessness, has initiated operations in the Coastside area. 

Developed by local housing shelter provider, InnVision Shelter Network, in collaboration with a diverse range of local stakeholder groups, the HOT seeks to engage only the most difficult to serve homeless individuals, many of whom are suffering from addiction and other debilitating mental illnesses.

As part of its Coastside expansion, the HOT added outreach professionals for the cities of Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, as well as part-time staff for the surrounding areas. The service extension is the result of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors’ decision in September to allocate $300,000 in Measure A funds to increase the program’s network. 

The program works in conjunction with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and Coastside Hope staff to identify the target homeless population to be served by the local HOT Team. A one-day homeless count last January revealed 112 homeless individuals on the Coastside which was 9 percent of the total homeless population in the county.

“Chronic homelessness is one of the most challenging issues we face, and it requires proactive cooperation among many stakeholders all working toward the same goal ─ which is getting people off the street and into homes,” stated Half Moon Bay Mayor John Muller. “The investment by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to bring a well-regarded program like the Homeless Outreach Team to the Coastside demonstrates this spirit of cooperation. We appreciate the County’s leadership on this issue as we work together to address our most difficult cases of homelessness.”

In Pacifica, the program will work in conjunction with the Pacifica Police Department and the Pacifica Resource Center.

Law enforcement reviews complaint and arrest records, and consults with the local hospitals and the health department to identify homeless persons who generate the most community complaints, have extensive arrest records, use the City of Half Moon Bay and City of Pacifica resources, and cost the County the most in health care services. Only these most challenging persons are accepted as potential participants.  

The ultimate goal of the HOT program is to give these individuals the resources they need to get housing and to become self-sufficient.

The City of San Mateo, Redwood City and East Palo Alto have successfully utilized the HOT model to house the chronically homeless people and dramatically reduce medical and law enforcement costs associated with the individuals in the program.

HOT performs outreach to persons who are the target of the most merchant and residential complaints to law enforcement, and the heaviest users of county emergency rooms for medical care. The HOT Team works to engage and develop a working rapport with chronically homeless persons and link them to medical and behavioral health services, and ultimately to housing.  Outreach staff meets with homeless persons where they live, including homeless encampments, transportation corridors and in parks and creekbeds, and other places where homeless reside. 

Once engaged, small incentives may be utilized to help develop trust and to encourage persons living on the streets to follow through with appointments. New socks or underwear, small gift cards, or hygiene kits may be provided. 

 

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