Today, coinciding with the #SeaHomeless media blitz, the Seattle Channel released a short video highlighting the work of the City’s Navigation Team, which is comprised of outreach workers paired with specially trained Seattle Police Department (SPD) personnel. The team works to connect unsheltered people to housing and critical resources, while helping address pervasive challenges around the issue of homelessness in Seattle.
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Navigation Team outreach results
From Feb. 20 through June 23, 2017, the Navigation Team has made more than 2,800 contacts with a total of 842 individuals. Through repeated contacts, the team members are building relationships with individuals and working with them on solutions that fit their needs. These efforts are producing amazing results, with 66 percent (557) of all individuals contacted accepting some type of service. Of the 842 individuals engaged, 296 have exited encampments to alternate living arrangements, which includes reconnecting with family or other support system (18), a motel voucher (13) or relocating to a shelter or authorized encampment (265). The Navigation Team has referred 173 people to the three new sanctioned encampments – Georgetown, Camp Second Chance and Licton Springs Village – opened this spring.
This summer the Navigation Team will have additional safer alternatives to which they can refer individuals based on their needs – the City’s Navigation Center is scheduled to open July 12, while a new 100-bed, enhanced 24/7 shelter will open at First Hill’s First Presbyterian Church in August.
Additional services accepted include case management support/referral; mental health support/referral; substance use disorder treatment referral; state ID acquisition assistance; medical support/referral; coordinated entry housing assessment (VISPDAT); King County Housing Authority lottery registration; employment support; benefits activation support; vehicle repairs; and basic needs.
About the Navigation Team
The Navigation Team is comprised of eight specially trained SPD officers, one SPD sergeant and seven REACH outreach workers who work together in the field to offer individualized services and alternative living spaces to homeless individuals. Additionally, a City outreach coordinator tracks and compiles outreach contacts and services provided; he is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and serves as the point person for issues related to mental health. In cases where the team contacts someone who is dealing with mental health challenges, the outreach coordinator assumes the outreach lead with that individual, making an assessment, engaging and making the appropriate referral to support the individual’s needs. When appropriate, the outreach coordinator requests assistance from specialty outreach workers from partner agencies, including MID – Outreach, Case Management & Mental Health Staff; UGM – Outreach team; UGM Community Mental Health Program; Harborview – Mental Health; LEAD; Mary’s Place; UGM – Hope Place; DESC – HOST Program; YouthCare, etc.
Also part of the team are several field coordinators – City staff who inspect reported encampment sites, inform cleanup scheduling, work with individuals to store personal belongings and later return those items upon request, document and ensure the City’s protocols are followed at every cleanup, and supervise the cleanup crews, which can include City staff and/or contractors. Finally, an SPD lieutenant and a program manager oversee coordination and scheduling of the entire team.