Homeless Outreach Team
To address homelessness in our community, the Largo Police Department formed a Homeless Outreach Team that positions designated officers, working directly with social service professionals, to focus specifically on supporting people experiencing homelessness by connecting them to services whenever possible. Largo's Homeless Outreach Team is supported by a multi-department Advisory Committee that includes Parks, Library, Housing, Administration, Fire Rescue, Public Works, and Community Standards, ensuring that efforts have City-wide support. The Advisory Committee’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Collaborative outreach efforts
- Protocol for staff interactions with people with experiencing homelessness
- Directing individuals to the homeless outreach team for support
- Working with businesses and residents to prevent and address homelessness concerns
- Informing resource use and support efforts through data tracking
MEET THE TEAM
Ofc Matthew Steiner
Before starting with the Largo Police Department, Officer Steiner had received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Officer Steiner has been a police officer with the City of Largo for 10 years and has served in multiple different capacities during his tenure. Officer Steiner was in patrol for five years before joining the Problem Oriented Policing Unit. Officer Steiner was in the Problem Oriented Policing Unit for approximately four years, until becoming the first Homeless Outreach Officer for the Largo Police Department. This new position within the Largo Police Department was created to form a new way of addressing people experiencing street homelessness. Ofc. Steiner is paired with a case worker from Directions For Living to help establish a rapport and create a better partnership when it comes to addressing issues of homelessness. Being able to create and mold this new position has been a very rewarding process for Ofc. Steiner and he is looking forward to helping those who are in need in the community.
Ryan Wells received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2017. Since that time, he has been a Substance Abuse Counselor in Putnamville Correctional Facility in Greencastle, Indiana as well as other capacities. Ryan moved to Florida in January of 2020 and has recently began the new position of Street Outreach Caseworker with Directions For Living. In this position, he has been paired with Officer Steiner of the Largo Police Department, where he provides casework for people experiencing street homelessness in the city of Largo.
The City of Largo has been named a 2020 Tree City USA® by the Arbor Day Foundation for its continued commitment to effective urban forest management. This marks the thirty-first year Largo has earned this national honor from the Arbor Day Foundation.