Homelessness in Orange and Los Angeles County is a regional problem with many facets. Locally, the Los Alamitos Police Department has a Homeless Liaison Officer program to coordinate resources and actions to address those challenges impacting our local community.
Homeless Liaison Officers (HLO) are specially trained patrol officers designed to be the initial point of contact with homeless individuals as well as addressing community concerns involving homelessness. They receive additional training on mental illness, homeless issues and available services and resources. They work to assess the homeless person’s needs, and identify how to help them from a range of solutions. Whether their homelessness has been caused by loss of income, psychological problems, substance abuse, lack of job training, or other problems, multiple options can be available to assist each person. The goal is to connect homeless individuals with wrap around services in order to move them off the streets and into self-sustaining situations. This approach not only provides short term answers but looks to develop permanent solutions.
HLOs collaborate with non-profit service providers and governmental agencies including City Net, Orange County Mental Health, and Veterans Services to name a few. These organizations help provide the individualized support needed to address unmet life necessities. These necessities include short term and long term housing, employment opportunities, medical care, and substance abuse treatment and mental health services.
With the support of these collaborative efforts, HLO’s seek out and engage chronically homeless persons and, for those who are willing, attempt to provide them with resources and to help find them housing linked with appropriate services for their circumstances.