A Houston police officer is paving the way for positive relations between police and homeless people by heading a small unit called the Homeless Outreach Team.
Steve Wick, a sergeant with the Houston Police Department, leads the HOT, which is made up of himself, four officers, and three mental health workers. The HOT not only responds to calls and complaints involving homeless people, but they also work tirelessly to try and get people off the streets so that they don’t run into issues in the first place.
"All these folks in the street are not bad," Wick said in a now viral video by Nationswell. "These are people that need somebody to talk to, somebody that cares about them, become their advocate and help them get off the street.”
Wick’s compassionate approach to dealing with homeless people is unique, but the HOT’s mission itself, as Wick notes, is quite simple – stop complaints about homeless people by finding them stable places to live. The team has successfully moved roughly 400 homeless people into temporary or permanent housing since 2011, Nationswell reports.
The HOT seems to be effective in many ways, especially in creating a good rapport with homeless folks. In the clip, one homeless man explains how good it feels to have people care about him.
“I see him just about every day, and he always stops and says, 'Hi,'" the homeless man says in the video. "That doesn't happen very often with other cops. It means a great deal, because at least somebody out here cares, you know? Someone in a uniform cares.”
For more information on what Wick and the rest of Houston’s Homeless Outreach Team does, check out the video below.