A Message From Sheriff Scott Israel: We All Deserve a Place to Call Home


From Sheriff Scott Israel:

We all deserve a place to call home and to be treated with dignity and respect – including those experiencing homelessness. Being homeless is not a crime, and arresting those who are is not the solution. We know that countless people are just one paycheck away from being homeless. No one chooses to be homeless. It can affect anyone at any time and does not have to be a permanent condition. Jailing the homeless is the least effective and most costly way of providing social services. We need to explore ways of providing shelter and support services to this already fragile population. A strict enforcement or arrest approach will not solve the problem but will only continue the cycle of homelessness.

Today, there are approximately 2,900 people in Broward County experiencing homelessness. The many causes include substance abuse, mental health issues and family disintegration, as well as a history of poor decisions and sometimes circumstances that are just beyond one’s control. The Broward Sheriff’s Office Homeless Outreach Initiative includes an agency wide mission to guide our deputies who come into contact with the homeless. The initiative provides deputies with homeless awareness training and the knowledge to navigate through the complexities of the social services system. This initiative encourages collaborations and partnerships between law enforcement, social service agencies and advocates for the homeless. These partnerships are designed to link those experiencing homelessness with appropriate social services while treating the homeless with dignity and respect.

I began the Homeless Outreach Team Specialist Course in 2013 and presently offer this training twice a year. Currently, we have 29 certified specialists and plan to add more than a dozen this year. H.O.T. training is now available to other law enforcement agencies and recently, officers from municipalities including Lauderhill, Davie and Hollywood have been certified.

The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a new way to quickly assess what treatment an individual has received, what has or hasn’t worked and what alternative is recommended, offering a better chance of getting an individual off the streets permanently.

As sheriff, I believe homeless people aren’t problem people; they are people with problems that can be assisted with compassion and understanding from our community. We can end the cycle of homelessness – not through a handout, but with a helping hand. Through the assistance of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Homeless Outreach Team, we can help these individuals help themselves to reclaim and regain their lives, and that is the right thing to do.

Sheriff Scott Israel

Certain Broward cities maintain their own police departments, however, BSO does provide communications and dispatch services to the following cities.

Central Broward, Cooper City, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Ft Lauderdale-Hollywood Int’l Airport, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale. Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, West Park, Pompano Beach, Port Everglades, Tamarac, Weston and unincorporated West Broward.


  • Won’t Say

    Hey Sheriff, whatever happen to law enforcement. It is like you all have turned into a whiny crying group of babies. Homeless outreach? Helping hand? What a hypocrite. Do you see how your deputies treat inmates – many of whom haven’t even been found guilty of a crime – at the downtown jail? Certified specialists? You mean people that read “homelessness for dummies” then took a two-page test and now are ready to dive in hands first to help the homeless in Broward? Here’s the kicker, how many BSO pensions does it take to feed 1,000 homeless people?…

  • Dick Brown

    The Sheriff is right on. The problem is having them begging on the streets and sleeping under bridges and viaducts. They are forced into unsafe neighborhoods. And what are we doing about it? Well, there are feeding programs, temporary places to sleep. All of which are run by wonderful people with big hearts.

    But, not the solution.
    I Remember the sign that we always saw at the YMCA “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”.
    Look toward Israel and learn from what was done. They call them KIBBUTZs. BUT WHAT THEY ARE IS PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIVING AND WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE COMMON GOOD. With the money saved by not having to lock people up for just being unfortunate we can actually build dormitory s and give people decent living conditions. There’s still a lot of open land not only here in Florida but other states as well. We have old bridges that need rebuilding, roads to be paved, crops to be planted and tended to.
    if we kept money spent on foreign aid here at home we can establish all of these facilities. It’s hard to conceive that the more advanced we’ve become the farther behind we’ve traveled.

    The bottom line is that there are solutions. We are just not doing what’s needed.
    By the way welfare is not the answer, nor are food stamps. But, allow a person to earn a place in society. Now that’s a solution.

    Yes Sheriff, you’re correct.

  • Won’t Say

    Thanks Dick, but unfortunately I saw nowhere in the article where the Sheriff proposes fishing poles and other resources to help the homeless fish, which by the way is a good idea. Cops are for fightiing crime. That’s what cities pay them to do. There are plenty of houses of worship and other parasitic non-profits that feed lifes underlings.

  • What is this common good crap?

    Common good? Take the homeless, give them homes in exchange for work. If indeed there are thousands of homeless in Fort Lauderdale or anywhere else then use them as labor, feed them and house them. They’re homeless likely for one of two reasons: they want to be homeless or they are ignorant and desperate. For anyone who disagrees with a government program that houses and feeds the homeless in exchange for picking up litter, cleaning canals, sweeping streets, picking up dog crap and all those other undesireable jobs it would seem a better way of taking care of bona fide Americans that illegal immigrants

  • lukecarlos

    Thank goodness that unlike the City of Ft. Lauderdale the Broward Sheriff’s Office is not wasting resources (money and man hours) criminalizing homeless human beings. The efficiency of training the officers to connect homeless with available resources and help is a better solution money wise, human compassion wise and what works best for the whole community.