Spring Valley, Calif. (KGTV) - The new Homeless Assistance Resource Team is expanding to battle the growing homeless population, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
The program started in June. Their goal is to connect homeless people with services, like getting a driver's license, food stamps, or healthcare.
"It's not new to the sheriff's department, but having three full time deputies assigned to the mission is new." Deputy Matthew Faddis said they accompany the myriad of service agencies on their mission into obscure parts of town known to house homeless people.
Faddis said it was to ensure the social workers, nurses and other workers' safety, and make them feel comfortable to do their job.
Deputy Faddis said the department is working to help more people, "starting out doing this about once a week, we hope to expand that and eventually get the full time team doing this every single day."
In Spring Valley, 10News walked with the team down into a concrete canal covered in graffiti. The couple they spoke with was given Hep A shots, hand sanitizer, water, and set up with a ride to get to an office where they can get set up for services tomorrow.
"If you don't have skills to communicate, if you don't have skills to be there on time, you get a stigma of, 'oh people don't care, there just going through my file anyway,' it doesn't matter." Kristin Kerrick said that's part of the reason why homeless people don't want to talk with the team. She said they are also scared.
She's lived out of her car for the past year working to regain stability.
"There's a place in La Mesa that accepts Section 8 and I qualify, so it's really exciting, it's been so long, it's been a really long time so I'm really thankful," Kerrick said smiling ear to ear.
Once under a roof for six months, she said she can try to get her four kids back, "we can see if they are already adopted out, or if they can break through the adoption, and go get the kids back, because I'm able to provide for them now and I'm under a program and she'll talk to me about that so not yet."
Stories like hers, fueling the HART team forward.