(Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner, 2014)

Two years in, Castro homeless outreach program has helped over 2,000 people access services

Since its launch in September of 2014, homeless outreach program Castro Cares has made contact with over 3,300 people experiencing homelessness in the neighborhood. According to a press release sent out by the Castro Community Business District on Tuesday, 64 percent—or 2,133 individuals—accepted services such as shelter bed reservations or medical and mental health treatments through the program.

Andrea Aiello, Executive Director of the Castro CBD, states that “Castro Cares was created after many in the community felt the current system was not working as well as they liked and felt a need to try something different.” The program receives $175,00 per year from the Office of Economic & Workforce Development, and provides 16 hours a week of homeless outreach services, four hours a week of case management, and 26 hours of Patrol Special officers in uniform.

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“Studies show that when at-risk populations experience consistent engagement with people who demonstrate genuine caring and interest in their well-being over a period of time, they are more likely to accept assistance and referrals to appropriate care and services that deter crime, enforce quality of life laws, and curb uncivil and unsafe behavior,” Aiello states.

 

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