Evaluation of the Homeless Outreach Service Team (HOST) Program
Study Dates: 2013-2014 (published in 2016)
Study Description: The original purpose of the HOST program was to bring Salt Lake City, Utah police officers and community outreach workers together to identify homeless individuals who frequently panhandle or engage in other types of public nuisance activities in the downtown area and to connect them to community resources.
The main objectives of this program were to:
- Encourage police to make referrals to services rather than issue citations to the homeless, and
- Decrease the prevalence of panhandling by encouraging the public to give money to homeless service providers rather than directly to panhandlers
In 2012, the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) received an award from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) to expand the HOST program. The goals of the COPS Office HOST award were to fund a public awareness campaign, coordinate strategic planning efforts, and recruit and train formerly homeless individuals as volunteers to assist with outreach efforts. SLCPD contracted with UCJC to examine the impact of the award on services offered and the perceptions, roles, and responsibilities of personnel and key stakeholders involved with the HOST program.
This report covers the three primary components of the HOST program:
- Donations to homeless service providers
- The homeless support group
- Collaborative street outreach