Strengthening Partnerships Between Law Enforcement and Homelessness Service Systems

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.

June 2019 | US Interagency Council on Homelessness and The Council of State Governments Justice Center

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.

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