How to Start a Police Homeless Outreach Team in Three Easy Steps

How to Start a Police Homeless Outreach Team in Three Easy Steps
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2020-01-21
Unit 1 Slide Deck: How to Start a Police Homeless Outreach Team in Three Easy Steps
Unit 2 Workbook: How to Start a Police Homeless Outreach Team in Three Easy Steps
Unit 3 Recording: How to Start a Police Homeless Outreach Team in Three Easy Steps

After answering the whys for a law enforcement agency to launch their own Police Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), Daniel McDonald’s second webinar in the series will deep-dive into the hows of actually implementing this. Daniel’s straightforward approach to resolving the issue of homelessness by providing them with housing may be easier said than done – but it can be accomplished using Daniel’s tried and tested blueprint and helpful guidelines.

Daniel McDonald has been in the field for 26 years, one of his most notable contributions being a revolutionary initiative to address homelessness and panhandling through the Homeless Outreach Team (2012). His efforts resulted with hundreds of clients being provided with housing and reducing homelessness within the jurisdiction. His work has garnered attention from various media outlets worldwide.

Points Daniel discussed on this session are:

  • How to start your Homeless Outreach Team.
    • Acknowledging the impact law enforcement can bring by getting involved in the issue of homelessness.
    • The significance of having the support and commitment of leaders and elected officials to the initiative.
    • Concentrating on outcomes and performance by starting with a small but actionable set of cases than hundreds that may cause overwhelm.
    • Setting priorities based on the Pyramid of Social Inertia by moving away from status quo and reactionary response through criminalization towards more proactive and long-term homeless solutions.
    • The criteria for the team members based on their skills and qualities and other considerations when it comes to the priorities, mindset, and operations of the team.
    • Starting small and thinking big: Getting a Homeless Outreach Team off the ground with limited resources through big impact programs.
  • Developing Systems to get your team started.
    • Creating systems along the way based on solutions that have been found to be effective.
    • Maximizing existing services before thinking of duplicating these.
    • Seeking guidance from or partner with other agencies who have an existing or similar program, or are working towards a similar goal.
    • The critical elements of an effective homelessness system and how each of these operate.
    • Identifying your clients to better understand the issues, needs, and opportunities for intervention.
    • Understanding the link between homelessness and panhandling to develop a plan that can address this.
  • Developing Community Partnerships to assist with the efforts.
    • Joining your Continuum of Care (CoC) to lead the initiative and utilizing their Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) database to drive data-driven solutions.
    • Fostering working relationships with different agencies that can provide assistance and resources for the homeless’ different needs and hasten its delivery.
    • Working with the media to raise the community’s awareness on the efforts and influence their perception of law enforcement.
    • Holding outreach events that allows the homeless to connect with resources that can assist them.


Click Here to Watch Part 1, “The Top 10 Reasons to Start a Police Homeless Outreach Team.”


Resources Mentioned during the Webinar:



Audience Comments:

  • “I liked the actionable information at the end.” — Brenda
  • “I liked the flow charts he uses. They seem to walk us through the red tape that sometimes is involved.” — Donna
  • “What a great summary of how officers can build and operate within a system that is focused on solving problems rather than on measuring numbers of contacts and activities. Very helpful information and I might add, very much in keeping with the generally excellent quality of training offered by Justice Clearinghouse.” — Joni
  • “It is more cost-efficient to provide housing for the homeless than spending the money on outreach programs.” — Rose
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