Sheriff’s Department Highlights Challenges with Homelessness

May 7, 2024

Representatives from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department gave a presentation to the SBCTA Board of Directors at their May Board meeting on their efforts to address homelessness within the county.  Captain James Porter and Deputy Mike Jones with the Community Services & Reentry Division (CSRD) of the Sheriff’s Department highlighted the challenges in dealing with the critical issue facing the county and all cities in San Bernardino County. 

CSRD is the newest division in the Sheriff’s Department, having been established in 2022.  The CSRD’s primary goal is to bring together all the resources of the Sheriff’s Department to work with the hardest to serve populations across the county, particularly the homeless.  Within the CSRD, the Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement (HOPE) Team works with the county and local cities to connect homeless individuals and link them with resources and service providers throughout the county to reduce calls for service and other resources currently required to deal with the homeless population.  The objective of the HOPE Team is stop the revolving door of arrest, incarceration and release within certain sectors of the homeless population.  The HOPE Team was established almost 10 years ago and has been recognized at the national, state and county levels for their proactive efforts.

Homelessness has been on the rise since the end of the COVID 19 pandemic.  California ranks first in the nation with a homeless population of more than 180,000 and San Bernardino County includes more than 4,000 individuals, a population that has nearly doubled in the last five years.  The issue is an extremely difficult one to address and impacts the quality of life throughout all communities.  The HOPE Team pointed to a number of factors that contribute to homelessness problem, including the high cost of living in the state, lack of shelter bed capacity in the county and court decisions that hinders local municipalities in enforcing ordinances prohibiting loitering or camping on public property. 

The HOPE program aims to balance proactive outreach with enforcement of the law, to connect individuals with the resources they need to transition into long term housing.  Reducing crime and the rate of recidivism within the homeless population increases the quality of life for all residents of San Bernardino County and saves taxpayer costs and resources.  To learn more about the HOPE program, call (909) 387-0623 or email


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