In 2021, the City Council approved funding for a Street Outreach and Engagement Specialist to be hired by Shelter House. The mission of the Specialist is to identify and engage with people living in unsheltered locations to ensure basic needs are met. The ultimate goal is to connect the individual with necessary resources and permanent housing.
Historically, many matters related to homelessness – even non-criminal issues – have been addressed by the Iowa City Police Department. One of the goals of the Specialist position is to help divert calls from the police department to professionals who are better-suited to address these matters. Community members are encouraged to refer non-criminal matters to the Specialist rather than police.
Who is the Street Outreach and Engagement Specialist?
Shelter House’s Street Outreach and Engagement Specialist is Sam Brooks. Sam is an employee of Shelter House. However, City staff are encouraged to refer matters related to homelessness to Sam, when appropriate.
How do I reach the Street Outreach and Engagement Specialist?
Sam can be reached at (319) 930-6621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the duties of the Street Outreach and Engagement Specialist?
A job summary, including key responsibilities, can be found here.
When is it appropriate to contact the Street Outreach and Engagement Specialist?
Community members are encouraged to contact the Specialist when quality of life matters related to a homeless individual are encountered. These include when an individual’s basic needs – housing, food, clothing, and medical attention – are not being met due to being homeless.
Are there times it is appropriate to contact police?
Homelessness is not a crime and should not be treated as such. Community members encouraged to contact Iowa City Police when they see any crime taking place, regardless of the person’s housing status.