A unique partnership between South Florida Behavioral Health Network and local police department in Miami and Miami Beach has changed the way the police are viewed in the community and dramatically transformed the lives of individuals engaged in the new program. The two-year-old program helps those who are chronically homeless and suffering from substance abuse to get treatment and find housing.
Importantly, this innovative program is not a drain on tax dollars. Just the opposite, getting these individuals needed health care and housing is now saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
This partnership was recently recognized by the Homeless Trust of Miami-Dade County with “Changemaker” awards to both organizations for their overwhelming dedication to those in our community who find themselves homeless.
The program, called TEAM UP, targets the chronically homeless, likely to die on the streets because of their addiction to substances, putting strain on public safety with a history of arrests and involuntary commitments.
Measuring outcomes for the first 7 individuals who were fully engaged in the program, the program is actually saving taxpayers money. In one year, pre-enrollment costs for these individuals were $486,617. Post enrollment in program costs were $247,672, or a savings to taxpayers of $238,945. In addition to the favorable financials, Miami Beach residents and business owners have notified the Department’s Homeless Resource Officers Unit to applaud their efforts as they have noticed a marked difference in the amount of homeless individuals in the streets.