November 15, 2012 – A public service announcement video (above) released today highlights the Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST) and encourages visitors in the downtown area to support the program this holiday season.
The HOST program is a proactive and collaborative effort to move the community beyond enforcement of order maintenance issues – public intoxication, disorderly conduct, etc. – to a partnership with homeless service providers that connects homeless individuals with social services and resources.
Individuals who wish to support HOST have two options:
The press release below was released by the Mayor’s Office in advance of today’s event:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2012
Contact: Art Raymond
One Year in, HOST Program Making a Difference
Mayor, Police Chief and advocates will discuss successes of pilot program
SALT LAKE CITY –Mayor Ralph Becker and City Police Chief Chris Burbank will join social service providers and community advocates in celebrating the successes of the Homeless Outreach Service Team at a media event on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m. in the east lobby of the downtown Zions Bank, 1 S. Main Street.
The program, HOST for short, was launched just over a year ago with the goal of connecting homeless individuals with social service providers and resources to help get lives back on track.
Local merchants sponsored refurbished parking meters at various locations for downtown visitors to utilize in lieu of handouts to panhandlers. Salt Lake City Police officers also began a program of using contacts with panhandlers as opportunities to offer referrals to service providers. Hundreds of those contacts resulted in making important connections between social service organizations and people in need of help.
“HOST training and regular meetings between bike officers and social services providers means we can stop duplicating efforts while more effectively helping individuals access services instead of jails and courts,” said Chief Burbank. “Because we can’t arrest our way out of this issue, we must work smarter and together to create a workable solution.”
Mayor Becker and Chief Burbank will be joined by Kathy Bray, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Utah and community advocate Pamela Atkinson, both of whom will be speaking on the ways HOST isimpacting the community’s homeless population. The City will also premier a new video public service announcement focused on the HOST effort.
“While still in a pilot stage, we’re greatly encouraged by the successes thus far of the HOST program,” said Mayor Becker. “Our police officers have done a remarkable job in using this new tool to address some of the chronic issues they deal with on a daily basis. By makingreferrals when appropriate, this work is making positive and long-lasting changes for many who are facing chemical dependency and other challenges.”