|(Feb 8, 2019, 6:55 a.m.) -- A homeowner finds someone with all their worldly belongings sleeping in the gutter outside their home. A store owner finds someone conversing with invisible voices outside their business. What should happen if LB taxpayers call 9-1-1 seeking assistance for these people and for themselves in dealing with the situations?
In a Feb. 6 memo to the Mayor and City Council, two members of senior city management say their Departments will begin -- starting this coming Monday -- a pilot (test) program to provide information to non-emergency callers regarding homeless isssues that don't rise to the level of a police or fire response.
Reginald Harrison, Dir. of Disaster Communications & Emergency Preparedness [among other things oversees LB's 9-1-1 call center] and Kelly Colopy, Dir of LB's Health & Human Services Dept. [among other things oversees homeless services] say their agencies are partnering to create a Homeless Services Call Taker (HSCT) position to provide information on homeless issues to non-emergency callers.
Their memo indicates that under the pilot program, police and fire dispatchers will transfer non-emergency calls for service to the HSCT "when they believe the calling party could benefit from a more in-depth conversation and/or referral to other homeless services." They add: "If during their conversation, the situation regarding the initial call-for-service escalates to an urgent status, the HSCT will immediately transfer the caller back to a PSD [Public & Fire Safety Dispatcher]."
The memo indicates the Health Dept. will be responsible for staffing and training the HSCT. The pilot program will run from Feb. 11 through April 7 and an HSCT will be in the 9-1-1 call center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. During periods when an HSCT isn't available, non-emergency calls for service regarding homeless issues will be referred to the Multisercie Center Hotline (562 570-4672) where, the memo says, calls are checked multiple times daily and any caller requesting a call-back will receive one.
"During the pilot program, the nature and type of calls from the public will be evaluated to determine areas where additional public information public information should be provided. The hours of availability of the HSCT will also be evaluated for effectiveness," the memo states. .
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