What is HOST?
The Homeless Outreach Services Team (HOST) focuses on ways to help our homeless population access services and get permanent or transitional housing rather than live on the streets or in an encampment. HOST officers have special training and relationships so that they can respond to homeless related calls with the approach to reach out first and enforce last.
Why was HOST Developed?
Homeless and transient-related service calls make up about 50 percent of total calls to the Police Department on a typical day. These service calls include reports of illegal encampments, public intoxication, loitering and trespassing, aggressive panhandling, theft, and illegal drug use.
In an effort to reduce the number of calls and get homeless people the services they need, Petaluma Police Department began working with local homeless services organizations including The Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), the Mary Isaak Center shelter and Santa Rosa Catholic Charities
How is HOST funded?
The program is partially funded by a grant from Cal-Recycle. This grant expanded the HOST team from one to two full-time officers.
The HOST team uses special, grant-funded equipment to access and track homeless encampments in areas not accessible by vehicles.
HOST program officers work with a social services counselor from COTs.
The H.O.S.T. Program combines Petaluma Policing with social services to get help for our citizens in need.
- by Ryan DeBaeke