WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The city of West Sacramento is tackling its homelessness issue with an innovative approach.
The city has partnered with two engineers out of the Bay Area– to launch an app called Appledore– that is meant to be a game changer when it comes to how the city directs services to those in need.
“We have resources in the field and we’re not using them in a cost-effective way and we’re not using them to their maximum potential so this will help,” said Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.
Cabaldon says there are resources to help the city’s homeless, from police- to county social workers and mental health workers; but getting these agencies to communicate effectively has been a challenge.
“Folks are going out to a camp and the next person can’t find it, or they don’t know someone’s been diagnosed with an opioid problem in that camp,” he said.
The Bay Area Engineers behind Appledore actually came to West Sacramento and studied the deficiencies in the day-to-day work.
The mayor says West Sacramento is the first city in our region to roll out such a program and the success they’ve seen just in the last 3 months has been impressive.
“I think it’s very beneficial, innovative and this is just the beginning,” said Sgt. Roger Kinney with the police department.
Sgt. Kinney says through the app, you can drop a pin on a certain area identifying the exact location of a homeless camp.
Then, information about the specific needs of each homeless individual can be gathered and shared with the right resource immediately.
“We get to bring them services instead of having them come out to a government building, feeling uncomfortable,” he said.
“Any services we can provide for them and they have easier access to, I’m all for that,” said resident Lance Leclair.
The police department says it wants to make clear that this is not an enforcement tool.
“It’s not a law enforcement program for us to go out and arrest these folks that is not what this program is for,” said Kinney.
And while Appledore won’t solve West Sacramento’s homelessness issue, once fully implemented, it can be a breakthrough in how the city gets services to the needy.
Cabaldon says he’s working on getting other public departments and agencies that serve the homeless in the region to join.
So far since it’s launch, the police department’s homeless services coordinator has been able to help about 65 people.