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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Expanded outreach effort to bring homeless to services, housing

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, June 14, 2017) - A new team of outreach workers will work with homeless people throughout Berkeley and Albany to provide them with mental health treatment, connect them to services and guide them toward the ultimate goal of long-term housing.

This team of five Berkeley Mental Health staff, including a public health nurse, will meet people wherever they are - including parks, shelters, encampments, and sidewalks. These case managers will focus on the people that studies show are the most critical to help: the long-term homeless who suffer from disabilities, specifically mental health.

Clients will be selected based on a number of factors such as living with mental illness, suffering from addiction, frequent use of emergency rooms and other public resources, and problematic street behavior.  The outreach and treatment team will work in partnership with The Hub, the City of Berkeley's single point of entry for city funded housing and homeless services, to identify clients and link them to services.

If you are homeless and need access to housing and services, contact The Hub, which is funded by the City of Berkeley and operated by the Berkeley Food and Housing Project (BFHP).

The Hub (Coordinated Homeless System)
(866) 960-2132
1901 Fairview Street Berkeley, CA 94703

The outreach team will also provide additional resources to help individuals improve their health and remove barriers to employment. 

Helping transition individuals off the streets and into supportive housing takes time, sometimes years. Outreach staff will work intensively with people over time to develop trust and help individuals access the services they need. In many cases, this involves educating clients and preparing them to take advantage of available housing and services.

This expanded, more coordinated outreach effort seeks to interrupt the destructive cycle of hospitalization, incarceration, and homelessness that's too frequently experienced by those with serious mental illness who have been unable or unwilling to participate in services.

The expanded outreach and treatment team continues aligning Berkeley's homeless services with national best practices. In 2016, Berkeley was the first City in Alameda County to create a single point of entry for homeless people to access services, known as The Hub. Previously, clients had to navigate a maze of different agencies. Intakes and some services were duplicated, which was inefficient and left the most needy on the streets. Alameda County is looking to follow Berkeley's model in other cities.

"Our expanded outreach team is a vital component of this reimagined system of homeless services," says Paul Buddenhagen, the city's director of Health, Housing and Community Services (HHCS). "Too often, people that need our help the most don't get it, and I am excited that our outreach and treatment team will be on our streets addressing that problem.   Homeless outreach staff will engage in long term treatment relationships with people who need the most help, and they will get the health, housing and employment help they need to lead better lives."


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