Houston Homeless Team Attracting Attention In County | Houston , Texas | Your Houston News
Officials with the Montgomery County Homeless Coalition would like to copy a program the Houston Police Department created to make it easier for homeless to turn their lives around.
The HPD Homeless Outreach Team, which consists of three members, started in January 2011. The team strives to build relationships and fill the gaps to get the homeless off the streets and into programs and facilities where they can improve their lives.
“The Houston Police Department decided they needed another way to deal with the issue of homelessness,” Sgt. Stephen Wick, who heads up HOT, said during a presentation Wednesday afternoon to members of the Montgomery County Homeless Coalition.
The biggest problem homeless face in getting off the streets is a lost or stolen ID.
“If you don’t have an ID you can’t get a job, get into a shelter or receive services,” Senior Police Officer Jaime Giraldo said.
HOT uses an automated fingerprint identification unit to help homeless receive an ID. Team members print the needed information from a printer station inside the HOT van to confirm a person’s identity.
“When we try to get ID we have no doubt this person is who we believe they are,” Wick said, adding an investigation is done to confirm identity.
Wick and Giraldo also shared success stories with coalition members, which Tina Daugherty, Montgomery County Homeless Coalition executive director, said was comforting to hear because they face the same issues and bureaucratic restraints.