The Brea Briefing Room

Brea Briefing Room

Welcome to the Brea Briefing Room, the Brea Police Department’s official blog. The purpose of this blog is to keep the community informed while providing a behind the scenes look into the operations of the Department. The blog also offers an opportunity to interact with the Brea Police Department through the sharing of information. We encourage you to express your thoughts on topics posted on the blog through respectful and insightful discussion. The Department reserves the right to remove comments that contain inappropriate language and/or material. View blog disclaimerBreaPolice.net

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Oct 05

Homeless Outreach

Posted on October 5, 2015 at 1:59 p.m. by johnb johnb

Most southern California cities have felt the impact of the problem of homelessness, and the City of Brea is no exception. For many years, Brea police officers periodically encountered homeless individuals in Brea and occasionally even a homeless family. Resources were readily available, and there were regional, temporary shelter options, typically enough that most situations could be resolved positively. However, since the recession, Brea officers have noticed marked increases in homeless people living on the streets in Brea or passing through town. Not only did the recession seemingly cause more homelessness, but also contributed to a reduction in available resources for shelter, medical needs, and mental health treatment.

In an effort to enhance our response to the needs of homeless people and families, the City of Brea and Brea Police Department recently entered into a partnership with the non-profit Coast to Coast Foundation. Coast to Coast is a volunteer-based organization specifically designed to assist law enforcement officers with homeless outreach. Volunteers are trained in communicating with homeless individuals, identifying needs, and locating and arranging services, sometimes including family reunification. Volunteers periodically ride with patrol officers to seek out homeless persons, and are also available 24/7 to assist with resource contacts. Often, making necessary contacts and arranging for needed services takes substantial time. Coast to Coast volunteers take on those responsibilities, freeing up police officers to resume patrol operations and handle other police functions.

Coast to Coast acquires and manages life necessity items, such as clothing, toiletries, food items, and bus passes, which can be distributed to homeless persons as needed. These supplies are stored at the police department and are readily available for use by Brea officers, including the department’s cadre of Homeless Liaison Officers (HLO), who are specially trained in handling issues of homelessness. The City has seeded the partnership with Coast to Coast for the initial purchase of supplies for the program. However, homelessness is a community issue, and the ongoing success of the program will depend on volunteers and monetary support from the Brea community. On October 3rd, Coast to Coast hosted the first volunteer Community Outreach Training Day to train Brea volunteers in homeless outreach. Fourteen Brea resident volunteers received the training, and another training session will be scheduled within the next few months.

Coast to Coast has been very successful in other cities, including Fullerton, Anaheim, and Corona. The department is extremely excited about this new opportunity to provide effective outreach and service for a difficult problem. If you would like more information about the Foundation or are interested in making a monetary donation specifically for Brea services, please visit coasttocoastfoundation.org. On the site you also will see information about an upcoming fundraising event on October 17.

The City of Brea has not limited its support of assisting the homeless population to just within Brea. The City Council recently approved a contribution of $100,000 toward the construction of a permanent, regional homeless shelter in Orange County. Plans are underway for such a facility in northeast Anaheim, and the cities of Anaheim and Fullerton have also pledged financial support. The shelter will be available for use by homeless persons referred from all parts of Orange County and is a focused effort at a regional approach to the problem of homelessness.

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