Leon County Sheriff's Office launches H.O.S.T program to assist homeless

Local organizations pitch in to help those in need
Posted at 7:42 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 19:42:22-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A new Leon County Sheriff's Office task force is focusing on homelessness.

Offering help and services to those across the county.

"We're going to go and make contact with the citizens of Leon County, and we're going to tell them what we do, we're doing outreach," Leon County Sheriff's deputy Bernie Hernandez said.

Meeting the people where they are.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office Homeless Outreach Street Team's first day started Monday.

Now-- they're visiting with people facing homelessness in the county and finding out what their needs are.

"One is get people resources. Get people housed if they want to get housed, give them the resources, but also have a good working relationship and a positive working relationship," Leon County Sheriff's deputy Paul Pacchioli said.

According a Big Bend Continuum of Care survey measuring the amount of people facing homelessness in Leon County, the results showed over 600 people are either living in emergency housing, or outdoors.

Together, deputies Pacchioli and Hernandez are going to different areas in the county where people facing homeless are asking them what type of help they need right now, and connecting them with agency's that can help them.

Pamphlets in hand, HOST is working with organizations like Good News Outreach for housing, the Leon County Health Department for helping get identification, the Apalachee Center for psychiatric care and Bond Community Health for medical help.

"We provide healthcare with everyone regardless of their ability to pay," Dr. Temple Robinson said.

Robinson, CEO of Bond Community Health says they are working with the sheriff's office to have patients dropped off, or even, meet people facing homelessness right where they are with their mobile medical unit.

Dr. Robinson describes the type of help they can provide.

"They can get primary care, dental services, mental health, substance abuse, case management, anybody who is suffering homelessness has full access to the array of services we have," Robinson said.

Thankful there's now a team dedicated to helping those who need a hand.

"I look forward to getting out there, doing as much as I can, and just trying to help people," Hernandez said.

While the Apalachee Center focuses on mental health, they can also assist clients on Educational Services, Job Training and Employment Assistance.