Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office released the Salt Lake City Police Department Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST) Program Overview and the Evaluation of the HOST Program.
The HOST program was originally developed to bring Salt Lake City, Utah police officers and community outreach workers together to identify homeless individuals who panhandle or engage in other types of public nuisance activities in the city and connect them to community resources. The main objectives were to encourage police to make referrals to services rather than issue citations and to decrease the prevalence of panhandling by encouraging the public to give money to service providers rather than directly to panhandlers.
In 2012, the Salt Lake City Police Department expanded the program to include a public awareness campaign, coordinate strategic planning efforts, and recruit and train formerly homeless individuals as volunteers to assist with outreach efforts. The Salt Lake City Police Department HOST Program Overview report, which covers the three primary components of the program - donations to homeless service providers, the homeless support group, and collaborative street outreach - is a valuable resource for anyone interested in homeless outreach efforts.
Additionally, Salt Lake City has contracted with the Utah Criminal Justice Center to examine the impact of the award on the program’s services and personnel. The Evaluation of the HOST Program report evaluates the three primary components of the program: donations to homeless service providers, the homeless support group, and collaborative street outreach.
We encourage you to review these new resources and identify strategies that can be adopted in your community.