Redding Homeless Outreach Officer says program is off to a good start


REDDING, Calif. - A homeless outreach team scouted out areas where transients hangout to try and help get people off the streets.

Phil Eoff, Redding Police Department's Homeless Outreach Officer, said they've been doing this twice a week since April.

"We talk to the people and see if they have services and see if they know where they are going. See if we can get them off the street," he explained.

On Tuesday morning Eoff and the team which also includes people from the Good News Rescue Mission and Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency headed out to Parkview Park.

"My main role out here is to provide security and safety for the volunteers and county employees that are conducting the outreach," Eoff explained. "I just make sure things are running safely out here and that there is no one being aggressive towards them or causing any problems for them while they contact them."

As the team walked along the trail they encountered a few homeless people. Some did not want to talk while others did.

When the team comes across someone willing to listen they leave Miriah Baker, a Community Health Advocate, alone because of health privacy laws. However, she is still in sight to ensure her safety.

"So I make sure that they have services that they need, such as CalFresh, Medi-Cal, CalWorks, any health needs veterans [and] housing," she explained.

After Baker is done then people with the Good News Rescue Mission go in and offer up their services.

Baker explained when she first started this it was off to a rocky start because the homeless did not trust her. However, now they are beginning to trust and accept her.

After the team made their rounds at Parkview they headed to City Hall.

Surprisingly there was no one in the canal, but the team did come across man who was rude and not receptive to Baker.

The team, especially Baker, feels this program is seeing some success.

"We do have people that are taking us up on the offer, especially for housing, veterans' services and trying to get them off the street there's a couple we've been helping," she said.

Eoff is retired but wanted to work a couple days of week to try and change lives one person at a time.

"It seemed like a good opportunity to hopefully make a little bit of a difference out here. It's such an issue," Eoff said.

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