Outreach engages people currently living outside. Outreach workers assess people’s needs and goals and connect people to crisis interventions, shelter, health and behavioral health care, permanent housing, and other services and opportunities both inside and outside of the homelessness response system.
HSH’s outreach team is the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT). The Department also partners with several outreach and response teams in San Francisco and is involved in the citywide effort to address street homelessness.
San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT)
Through HSH, the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT) works to engage and stabilize the most vulnerable individuals by voluntarily placing them into shelter and housing or connecting with other available resources. To make these placements, SFHOT works seven days a week to provide outreach and case management to people experiencing homelessness living on the streets of San Francisco. Services are provided by small, skilled teams with expertise in the complex issues that are barriers to stability for this population. For individuals who are not ready to accept the services HSH has to offer, SFHOT continues to outreach and build motivation to ensure services are available when they are needed.
SFHOT works collaboratively with the Department of Public Health’s Street Medicine team and other teams to address medical and behavioral health needs, using an individualized approach that includes wrap-around services and promotes harm reduction and stability-based recovery.
- Skilled teams working in neighborhoods provide practical support, information and referral, in-depth assessment, and referrals to SFHOT case management for those who qualify.
- Access Partner for Coordinated Entry providing on-the-spot assessment or reassessment.
- Stabilizes individuals by addressing the numerous day-to-day and long-term problems related to homelessness.
- Provides shelter beds and stabilization rooms within the limited resources available.
- Works to connect each person with shelter and housing.
- Develops a stabilization plan for each of the individuals SFHOT works with to reduce the harms of homelessness.
Medical staff joins outreach services to help transition people living on the streets into shelter and housing. The street medicine team provides healthcare using an adapted patient-centered medical home model. The street medicine team assess patients and establish care for chronic conditions such as medical, mental health, substance use, and cognitive disorders. Additionally, the team provides health care services in shelter and Navigation Centers.
Inclement Weather: HOT activates inclement weather protocols during hot weather, cold weather, wet weather, and air quality incidents. The team increases wellness checks, distributes appropriate supplies, and provides information on additional resources.
In February 2021, a collaborative city and nonprofit team made up of: SFHOT, VA, Felton ICM and EMS6, worked together to house a vulnerable senior with schizophrenia who had been homeless in the Mission for 45 years. Bob* experienced homelessness when his first episode of schizophrenia began at the age of 30 years old. He lost everything: his job, family and stability. When Bob initially became homeless, he lived in his van for several years until he became ill and unable to maintain his vehicle. Through the journey of his return to stabilization, and outreach from SFHOT, Bob was in and out of hospital stays until the VA found Bob a SIP which could accommodate his ADL’s. After many attempts of housing offers, Bob successfully moved into the permanent supportive housing.