Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s ‘HOT’ Teams have begun work with homeless population

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Drew Hill
HOT Team in action

Last week, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno announced the creation of the county’s Homeless Outreach Teams or ‘HOT’ Teams. Now, we get to see them in action.

“What can we do for you? Is there any help we can possibly provide you?” trained members of ‘HOT’ Teams ask.

Starting with that simple question, they believe help will lead to hope.

The first order of business is pandemic supplies. “Okay so I’m going to give you this bag inside there’s a bunch of different items. There’s hand sanitizer and some masks. Some hygiene items.”

Here is one of Lee County’s five Homeless Outreach Teams at work. Every day, these ‘HOT’ Teams hit the road in search of people in need. “Having a conversation with them you can find out a lot. Asking questions were able to assess their mental state the medical status if they need a certain services,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Michelle Sargis.

Deputy Sargis is specially trained in crisis intervention. She partners with a mental health professional and a  member of the community to form her ‘HOT’ Team.

“It’s been a while since anyone’s seemed like they were concerned actually caring about the homeless,” said Renee Chambers, one of the homeless people in Lee County.

Chambers says she very recently became homeless. “This past Sunday, I believe it was, they didn’t bring food until about 7 o’clock at night we had no breakfast no nothing. Nothing to drink and it was hot it was pretty bad so yeah… I gave up a little bit of hope,” she said.

But with the help of this ‘HOT’ Team, and those in the community, she hopes to be back on her feet soon. “The lady that approached me this morning she’s coming back on Thursday with her computer to help so that’s very exciting,” Chambers said.

‘HOT’ Teams are even equipped to talk with homeless people like Chambers about finding them a place to live. Renee says she’s just happy to finally feel like someone cares and is even more excited to have a hot shower again.

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