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Street Engagement Team pounds the pavement to help the homeless

Published: Monday, Aug. 18 2014 5:58 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, Aug. 18 2014 5:58 p.m. MDT

While the grant limits the team's work to the vicinity of Rio Grande Street and Pioneer Park, the addition of the Salt Lake City Police Department's Metro Support Bureau at 420 W. 200 South has pushed a critical mass of clients south, to cluster around the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake and small patch of grass on the other side of the street where a few trees provide shade.

Given this new development, the grant's service boundaries may need to be revised, team members said.

While service providers have worked cooperatively for years, this is the first time people from different agencies have labored under the same roof and worked as a team. This is the first time that The Road Home has conducted outreach efforts.

As Kein explains, "There's a lot we didn't know that they they know about."

"Together, we're a big force for people that normally wouldn't know who to turn to," Jones said.

Mangura said one of the team's primary responsibilities is to help keep people safe, which can include distributing condoms or bleach kits as a harm reduction measure against the transmission of HIV and other infectious diseases.

The ultimate goal of the team's regular visits to the park and Rio Grande Street is to cultivate trust with people so team members can more readily refer them to services and housing.

That's Anna Wright's plan.

"I need to put myself back in the shelter and get a job," she said.

"I need to talk to them (Steet Engagement Team members) because I don't know how close I am on getting housing."

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HOW YOU CAN HELP

The Street Engagement Team needs donations of

men's and women's underwear

socks

first aid kits

wallets

watches

moist toilet paper wipes

sleeping bags

reusable water bottles

bus tokens

Donations can be dropped off at Volunteers of America - Utah's offices, 435 W. Bearcat Drive, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, call (801) 363-9414.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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