In times of need and crisis, the Broward Sheriff’s Office Homeless Outreach Team often offers much-needed hope, help and humanity.
BSO’s Homeless Outreach Team works to end the cycle of homelessness. Several recent cases show the persistence, compassion and commitment of Homeless Outreach Team deputies and other BSO deputies when assisting those experiencing homelessness or transitioning into housing.
In mid-September, BSO learned that a U.S. Navy veteran, who had recently found housing after living on the streets and in shelters, was in need of furniture for his apartment. BSO Homeless Outreach Team Deputy Michael Francis leveraged his community connections to find an organization willing to help. Within days, the Kids of Love Foundation connected BSO with a donor willing to share gently used living room and dining room furniture as well as other household items with the veteran. A team of BSO deputies acted as movers to transport the items from the donor to the veteran, bringing comfort and stability to a veteran in need.
Over the summer, a pair of BSO deputies in the Dania Beach District, Dionne Valdez and Lemar Blackwood, encountered a woman and her daughter who were homeless. The deputies made repeated efforts to find housing for the pair, but were unsuccessful due to a lack of beds in shelters and a dearth of affordable hotel rooms. Finally, the undeterred deputies located a vacant hotel room where the hotel staff offered to provide the homeless family the room at a significantly reduced rate. The deputies also located a restaurant willing to provide a hot meal to the family so they could eat and rest peacefully, at least for a night.
Also over the summer, a BSO deputy learned that a homeless man was spending his time cleaning and sanitizing a bus stop in front of a fast food restaurant. Deputy Jim Hoy bought the man a meal, gave him rubber gloves and provided him with a donation for additional cleaning supplies. The deputy also made sure the homeless man had information on available resources and assisted him with getting him a copy of his ID.
BSO’s Homeless Outreach Unit has at least one specialist in every BSO district. These deputies educate other deputies on conducting a needs assessment of individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Through this assessment, deputies identify the social services needed and assist individuals with accessing Broward County’s continuum of care. This ongoing effort makes a difference one family and one person at a time.
THIS REPORT BY:
Carey Codd/Sr. PIO