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.
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.