City’s new ‘Incident Management Team’ improves coordinated response to homelessness crisis

Less than a month after the City launched its new “Incident Management Team” to better coordinate response to the ongoing homelessness crisis, the team’s leader provided a detailed update to the City Council about its immediate progress.

Assistant Chief Brian Pedro in his Sept. 19 presentation explained how the IMT was leveraging staff and resources from the Department of Community Response, Code Enforcement, the Sacramento Police Department, the Sacramento Fire Department, Park Rangers, Public Works and Animal Care — as well as Sacramento County Behavioral Health Services and private contractor Forensiclean — to maximize effectiveness.

“Basically, (we are) using our citywide homeless protocol and putting it into a command structure with a chain of command so we can have a more organized response,” Pedro said.

Through the IMT, multiple interdepartmental teams are being deployed daily into the community to achieve the following objectives:

  • Connect community members experiencing homelessness with appropriate services.
  • Reduce and minimize the negative impact of encampments on surrounding areas by enforcing compliance with Sacramento City Code and California Vehicle Codes.
  • Provide encampment management and cleanup services.

Pedro stressed the importance of having the public use the City’s 311 service report issues and request response.

“For the integrity of the program to work, it needs to funnel through one system, and information needs to flow from one point,” he said.

On average, the City receives 120 calls a day involving issues related to homeless encampments, Pedro said. The City can close out approximately 74 calls a day with its current teams. As of Sept. 19, there were 2,150 calls pending, and the average response time to a 311 call was 16 days.

“As we build out the teams and get more teams in the field, we will see this number going down,” Pedro said. “Right now, we are working with the teams we have and trying to keep up the best we can.”

With Code playing an integral part in the IMT, Pedro shared data with Council about Code’s vehicle enforcement for the previous week: 598 new cases were opened; 400 vehicles were tagged; 85 vehicles were towed; and three stolen vehicles were recovered.

In closing, Pedro addressed what he believed were misconceptions about the IMT, stating that the IMT was not clearing encampments without cause, nor were they moving encampments simply because a 311 call was submitted.

He reiterated that the IMT was providing outreach and connecting people experiencing homelessness with the appropriate services while maintaining and enforcing compliance with City and State codes “as is the expectation of all citizens of our city.”

You can watch Pedro’s presentation below:

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