Jonathan is a Substance Use Case Manager with The People Concern’s Homeless Multidisciplinary Street Team (HMST) team. Our HMST team is a mobile outreach team dedicated to working with people experiencing homelessness who are amongst the highest utilizers of Emergency Services in the Santa Monica area. On a typical day, Jonathan and the HMST team take to the streets to directly engage with unhoused clients. They provide direct services including mental and physical health care, case management, peer support, housing coordination, court advocacy services, transportation to and from appointments and substance use services with the ultimate goal of linking them to permanent housing.“For me, while I am working with a program participant to get them to the point where they are willing to receive services, I meet them where they are at. It’s not up to me, all I can do is provide the support and when they do come to me and say they are ready to go into detox or treatment I get right on top of it. Once they are in treatment I continue to provide outside support and plan for their discharge and continuum of care. 

Since the pandemic hit, Jonathan and his team have noticed significant changes in our program participants, With COVID-19 we have definitely noticed an increase in substance use amongst our participants who are housed. In a way, it is harder for our folks who are housed to keep their sobriety because they can’t really go anywhere or do anything. Certain things are restricted so they are having a tougher time. Just like all of us are, our mental health is being impacted and so is theirs. With some of our folks, the pandemic has had a more significant impact. For our folks still on the streets, when everything first got shutdown it definitely was tougher because they weren’t able to get their substances. They were getting really sick more often and wsaw more hospital calls, but these folks are resistant.” Within the services industry, Jonathan and his team saw a positive increase in available resources, “In the past two months I have been able to get program participants into treatment much more quickly than I have in the past. I have been able to get 3 or 4 people into treatment when previously I would be lucky to get maybe one person in.” 

Jonathan and the HMST team have proven to have significant success in linking people experiencing homelessness in Santa Monica to services and getting them off the streets!