On Feb. 8, Mayor Ed Murray announced the creation of a new Navigation Team, comprised of outreach workers paired with specially trained Seattle Police Department (SPD) personnel, to connect unsheltered people to housing and critical resources, while helping address pervasive challenges around the issue of homelessness in Seattle.
The team has begun working with unsheltered people who have urgent and acute unmet needs, and will serve as the primary access point for people to be served by a forthcoming low-barrier Navigation Center.
The Navigation team is staffed by both outreach professionals from REACH and specially trained Seattle Police officers selected specifically for the unique role.
This team has advanced certification in crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques that lend themselves to the daunting tasks of reaching those most in need. The purpose of the team’s approach is to bring more people inside and create faster resolutions to hazardous situations.
They’ve begun working with unsheltered individuals who have urgent and acute unmet needs, including people who relocated from the I-5 East Duwamish Greenbelt and Mercer/Eastlake Corridors.
“The Navigation Team is working with people living with the most severe challenges, such as ongoing opiate addiction or mental health issues,” said Mayor Murray.
“This population of people living unsheltered are too often found in dire circumstances, in unauthorized encampments where they are more vulnerable to serious criminal activity.
Our outreach must focus on these specific challenges to achieve the goal of moving people living unsheltered into stable, permanent housing and helping them get back on their feet.”
Check back here to meet the Navigation Team in future posts and find out what motivates them into helping others find a better life.