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Washoe County launches new homeless outreach unit

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 9:50 PM PDT
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WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office launched its three person HOPE team Monday, July 5.

HOPE stands for homeless outreach proactive engagement.

The team includes one sergeant and two deputies. They have a combined total of 40-years of experience in law enforcement.

“We don’t want to give anyone a hard time. We’re there to listen. We’re there to provide those resources. We genuinely care,” said Sgt. Shatawana Daniel of the Washoe County Patrol HOPE team.

Before making visits they review their records and decide on an area to visit.

After a brief conversation, they decide to focus on a mother and her three children.

They quickly walk outside the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office headquarters at 911 Parr Boulevard in Reno and get into their truck and travel to Sun Valley.

KOLO 8 Evening Anchor and Reporter Noah Bond accepted the mother’s request to not show her face or the faces of her children.

“It didn’t start off very well at first. there was I think kind of like some push back,” Sgt. Daniel said.

Bond asked her how the interaction went from confrontational Wednesday morning to cordial interactions later that evening when he tagged along with the HOPE team.

”I think we needed to let them know we were there for them,” Sgt. Daniel said.

“My first thought or emotion is sadness. I could not imagine myself in that situation,” said Deputy Andres Silva of the Washoe County Patrol HOPE team.

He says from this sadness comes compassion and a real desire to uplift and serve.

HOPE’s mission is to provide resources and to help lift the homeless out of poverty and into stable homes.

“Housing, clothing, items, food items. so we try to start there,” said Sgt. Daniel.

Washoe County HOPE members say they get a lot of feedback. Some citizens asking for quick results.

“This one message I do have for our community is have patience with us because we are a new team and we’re not going to solve this issue overnight,” said Deputy Silva.

In its first month, Washoe County’s HOPE team contacted at least 70 people in northern Nevada’s homeless population.

It’s looking to partner with any non-profit specializing in providing housing.

If you’d like to volunteer with the HOPE team, email Sheriff-HOPETeam@washoecounty.us.

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