By: Robert Singleton
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors heard their first update of the year on the new Focused Intervention Team (FIT) program, which is a combination enforcement and social services effort, funded through Measure G, to address chronic recidivism. As you may recall, the Business Council Board of Directors voted overwhelmingly last September to support Measure G (half cent sales tax) after hearing a presentation from Sheriff Hart about how these funds would be used to improve public safety, and provide more mental health and substance abuse treatment. Here are some program highlights and why it matters to our local business community:
20 clients have been enrolled in the FIT program, with a goal to have 30 by the end of Q1.
Of those enrolled 100 percent are BOTH experiencing homelessness and issues related to substance abuse.
Some of the clients have been arrested over 40 times in just the past year, have previously refused treatment, and are not currently being accepted into the sobering center (as an alternative to jail).
What is FIT?
A team of 3 peace officers, 3 clinicians, with statistical oversight being provided by Applied Survey Research.
24/7 pairing of both enforcement and continuum of care providers with clients, with the option of mandatory incarceration periods of 3-5 days, separate from all other communities.
Primary goal is to reduce crime, and get clients into long term housing, success metrics will be determined by ASR with a 9 month report back period.
Given that a clear majority of all calls for service of first responders involve people who are either experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, and/or substance abuse issues, this program is the specifically tailored those with the highest level of financial impact on our community, This is cost reduction plain and simple, with the potential for getting people into longer term, more stable situations than what they are currently experiencing. Learn more about the FIT program here.