Through HSH, the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (SFHOT) works to engage and stabilize the most vulnerable homeless individuals by placing them into shelter and housing or connecting with other available resources. To make these placements, SFHOT works in small teams to provide outreach and care management to homeless people living on the streets of San Francisco who have severe illnesses. Services are provided by teams with expertise in the complex issues that are barriers to stability for this population.
SFHOT works collaboratively with the Department of Public Health’s Street Medicine team to address medical and behavioral health needs, using an individualized approach that includes wrap-around services, and promotes harm reduction and stability-based recovery. SFHOT members work in small, skilled teams, in two shifts seven days a week. Outreach includes practical support, information and referral, and in-depth assessment and case management for the most vulnerable and at risk.
- Skilled teams working a neighborhood beat provide practical support, information and referral, and in depth assessment and case management for the most vulnerable and at risk.
- Stabilizes individuals by addressing the numerous day-to-day and long-term problems related to homelessness.
- Provides shelter beds and stabilization rooms within the severely 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.
When we activate our inclement weather protocols, SFHOT will take the following actions:
- Street Outreach will conduct outreach in their assigned districts and special projects, and will increase wellness checks as well as distribute appropriate resources. They will also track supply distribution through encounter forms.
- Case Management will do wellness checks on case-managed clients in stabilization rooms, and conduct outreach in surrounding areas. They will distribute appropriate supplies.
- Safe Sleep Intakes will continue during wet weather. Canopies will be utilized to shelter staff and guests at intake. Canopies will also shelter charging stations, and tarps will be placed over and under tents. In some cases, pallets or platforms will raise tents up to avoid groundwater. Sandbags will help direct water away from tent spaces and towards storm drains. Rain ponchos and mylar blankets will be provided, if needed.
- During Hot Weather Protocol SF Homeless Outreach Teams watch out for:
- Folks wearing many layers, and recommend layering less
- Folks perspiring in excess
- Teams carry extra water to hand out.
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.