PLEASANTON, Calif. (KRON) — The homeless population in Pleasanton is growing and that has been the case even before the pandemic.
The police department has an outreach team dedicated to the issue. But their primary role is not enforcement, instead, they are advocating for long-term solutions.
Environmental concerns recently led the city of Pleasanton to remove a homeless encampment beneath an overpass.
The Pleasanton Police Department’s homeless outreach team partnered with service providers to help find the people living there find housing.
An example of working toward long-term solutions rather than incarceration.
“If they don’t trust you, they’re not going to communicate with you, and they’re not going to accept the resources,” Officer Nicole Evans said.
Evans has been building relationships with the city’s unhoused community since 2017.
But since January, she’s been apart of a two-member homeless outreach team.
Both officers working as full-time liasons.
So far, they’ve helped at least 20 people find permanent or temporary housing.
“It’s definitely been a challenge,” Evans said.
The numbers show that at any given time in Pleasanton, some 70 people are living on the streets everyday.
“People living in their vehicles. It’s a really unseen population,” Evans said.
“They blend in, but they need help as well.”
The most recent homeless count in Alameda County shows the population has grown more than 40-percent from 2017 to 2019.
70 people living on the street in Pleasanton may not sound like a lot when compared to the more than 3,200 people living on the streets of Oakland.
But it is a staggering number — compared to the eight people living on the street in neighboring Dublin.
“We do get a lot of people who travel in and out,” Evans said.
Officers evans says moving forward — her department will continue focusing on addressing housing and mental health.
Believing that approach will lead to a decrease chronic homelessness.
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