Agencies utilize new method to tackle homeless problem


REDDING, Calif. - Law enforcement and social services are coming together to utilize a new method to tackle the homeless problem in Redding.

Several weeks ago multiple agencies came together to discuss how best to tackle the issue, including: The Redding Police Department, The Homeless Continuum of Care, Good News Rescue Mission, the Veterans Resource Center and Shasta County Mental Health.

Homeless Continuum of Care Coordinator Jessica Delaney said working together helps to define what the problems really are.

"It's really nice collaborating with law enforcement," Delaney said. "Because we're able to differentiate between what might be a social service issue and what might be a public safety issue."

The agencies decided to venture out into the homeless camps as The Unsheltered Multi-Disciplinary Team to ask the question; who wants help and who doesn't?

Redding Police Officer Teddy Snyder said they're using surveys to get the answer.

"With the surveys we're getting mixed results," Snyder said. "We're trying to identify those who maybe aren't receiving help because there could be a substance abuse problem, mental health problem. We have run into numerous folks that basically just call it a lifestyle choice."

The homeless men and women who wanted help received information on available resources in the area.

Jessica Brunn, a woman who lives in a camp on the Sacramento River, said it was very helpful.

"They gave me some information to go get some food," Brunn said. "They told me a place I can go get counseling, mental health and just asked a lot of questions."

Brumm has survived hot summers and wet winters for years in Redding.

"If you know how to do your resources and get your food and you know how to barbeque you'll be all right," Brumm said. "You just got to keep your clothes clean. Make a tent. Pitch a tent."

The homeless community has become more visible in recent years. Delaney said it doesn't necessarily mean the homeless population has grown.

"Our homeless data that we maintain does not seem to have big spikes," Delaney said. "Our homeless numbers have not grown dramatically like maybe the community thinks, but the unsheltered population appears to have grown quite a bit, so we're seeing a lot of folks that are not accessing our shelter or housing programs."

The Unsheltered Multi Disciplinary Team has been surveying for several weeks. They plan to expand their work to the cities of Shasta Lake, Anderson and Shasta County.