The St. Petersburg Police Department's Outreach Team, created in 2006, works to serve homeless people who need assistance finding temporary or permanent housing and other programs. The team regularly conducts outreach in downtown St. Petersburg, but their services cover the entire city, where ever street homeless may reside.
The Team is comprised of one full-time officer from the St. Petersburg Police Department and one outreach Social Worker from Operation PAR who works in partnership for a successful team effort.
The outreach effort is viewed as a process rather than an outcome, with the focus on establishing rapport and eventually engaging people and linking them to the shelter and services they need and will accept. The outreach effort includes making basic contact with homeless individuals, addressing basic needs, conducting assessments on the street, making linkages and placements, conducting follow-up, and when needed, providing advocacy.
A critical component of the Street Outreach Program is the overnight emergency shelter beds at St. Vincent de Paul and Safe Harbor which opened in January of 2011. These beds provide emergency placement to help move homeless citizens off the streets while they work with the Outreach Team and other case management providers to access needed shelter, treatment and services.
Due to the success of the Street Outreach Team, four additional teams have been added in Pinellas Park, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater and Lealman, with additional emergency beds at The Turning Point and Homeless Emergency Project in Clearwater.
All five teams are the referral point for entrance into Pinellas Hope and Safe Harbor. The St. Petersburg Team can be reached by calling 727-422-6540 or 727-441-5103. Police Assisting the Homeless (PATH) non-emergency voicemail can be reached at 727-551-3783.