Across the country, local law enforcement and homelessness service system leaders are grappling with significant, often rising numbers of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, and they are seeking solutions. Co-written by the US Interagency Council on Homelessness and The Council of State Governments Justice Center, this policy brief highlights five emerging cross-systems strategies local law enforcement and homelessness response leaders can use to respond to people who experience unsheltered homelessness and have frequent contact with law enforcement:
1) Develop shared goals, clearly defined roles, and engage other critical stakeholders;
2) Use data to understand local need and assess progress;
3) Review and align local laws and ordinances to support the goals of the partnership;
4) Equip law enforcement officers and their homelessness service system counterparts with protocols and training; and
5) Divert people from the criminal justice system while supporting long-term stabilization.
The brief also features examples from partnership efforts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Wichita, Kansas.