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Houston Police Officer, Steve Wick, not only patrols the people on the streets, he looks after them, too, in ways none of them have been cared for before.

The Sergeant helps run the city’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), a part of the Houston Police Department’s mental health division. Since 2011, Wick along with four other officers and three mental health case workers, has helped move more than 400 people off the streets of Houston and into temporary or permanent housing.

HOT is partnered with many local organizations, all of which provide their own services to those being helped.  From housing and healthcare, to job opportunities, they work together to ensure a second chance for those who recently had nothing.

“All these folks in the street are not bad,” Wick said in a video by Nationswell, noting he had met a homeless person with an engineering degree as well as others who had attended The Juilliard School.  “These are people that need somebody to talk to, somebody that cares about them, to become their advocate and help them get off the street.”

HOT’s mission is to curtail complaints associated with the homeless by finding them enduring living quarters.  The team’s simple idea has contributed to Houston’s mission to  fight homelessness, which has had substantial results over recent years. On a given night, there are about 5,300 homeless people in the city — down 37 per cent since 2011, according to a 2014 count by Coalition for the Homeless. The city has also housed more than 2,800 homeless veterans since January 2012, a press release from the coalition announced in September.

But don’t be fooled.  HOT’s mission isn’t just about improving the numbers, it is about changing the lives of Houston’s most at-risk citizens.

“I see him just about every day, and he always stops and says, ‘Hi,'” one homeless man said. “That doesn’t happen very often with other cops. It means a great deal, because at least somebody out here cares, you know?”

(source: Huffington Post)

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