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Pittsburg Police Department (CA)
Monday November 28th, 2016 :: 10:11 a.m. PST
Community

Homelessness in Pittsburg

Homelessness in our community is something the police department has dealt with for many years. According to Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in 2015 it was estimated that there were over 500,000 people homeless with twenty five percent of them being children.  The cause of homelessness often stems from tragic life occurrences, including job loss, mental health issues, death of loved ones, and drug and alcohol addiction. Over the past several years our community has seen an increase in the homeless population. Since January 2016 officers have responded to just over 1000 calls for service regarding transient or homeless persons for a variety of reasons. This increase in the homeless population has increased the amount of time officers spend responding to these complaints. Since January 1, 2016 officers have made a total of 23 arrests, disbursed 33 encampments, written 48 reports and contacted 31 persons with mental disorders, in which 16 accepted some form of assistance from the Mental Health Evaluation Team (MHET).

We recognize the increase in the calls for service from the community, and the proactive enforcement by our officers, to address the sector of the homeless population who are involved in illicit behavior. Officers will continue to make contact with the homeless who are not involved in criminal activity and work to assist them in getting help and off of the street. As a result of our efforts, we found that resources for the homeless (mental health, housing and wellness programs) were limited and often overwhelmed. Furthermore, we are aware that many of our surrounding communities, as well as communities throughout Contra Costa County are facing an increase in homelessness.

In March of 2015, our officers began attending monthly meetings between other police agencies and the Contra Costa County Mental Health program manager as a way to collaborate and address people in our communities who have mental health conditions and are a drain on police and city resources.  Through this collaboration MHET was created. We assigned one officer to work full-time with a full-time mental health clinician from the Contra Costa County Mental Health Department and together they work with people in East Contra Costa County in need of mental health treatment. Knowing that many people in the homeless community suffer from mental illness, we also assigned a full-time officer to not only address all homeless issues in our community, but to identify homeless with mental illness and pass them on to the MHET team as a resource to assist in providing them assistance. 

The Pittsburg Police Department has worked to help many of the homeless, but one of our more notable success stories involved an elderly lady who was not only homeless, but suffered from mental health issues and opted to stay on the streets due to not getting along with her family members. She frequented the fronts of vacant businesses and would often times set up encampments from various items to use as shelter. As officers built a rapport with her, it was learned that members of her family were the trustees of her SSI and she would not always receive the full amount of her check. Collaborating with SSI, fraud charges were filed against the family members for taking her checks and not providing for her full care. With treatment for her mental illness and receiving her full SSI funding she was able to go into assisted housing and eventually into her own apartment.  

The Pittsburg Police Department is continuously working to provide assistance to the homeless in our community and hold those accountable who break the law. We also understand that we cannot resolve the issue of homelessness alone. Collaboration with our Code Enforcement Division, City resources, MHET, our neighboring cities and other public and private resources is the key to reducing the homeless presence, not only in our community, but everywhere.   
 

Address/Location
Pittsburg Police Department (CA)
65 Civic Ave
Pittsburg, CA 94565

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1

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