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Hillsboro Police Work to Resolve Homelessness Challenges
Meet the officers who provide specialized police intervention services to assist at risk members of our community.
The Hillsboro Police Department recently reorganized the Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to include two full-time officers. These police officers, Mike Abshier and Jason Becker, are working to provide specialized police intervention services to assist at risk members of our community.
Specifically, CIT works most often with those experiencing homelessness and mental health-related challenges. Jason and Mike can be seen around town conducting proactive patrols to contact and identify citizens willing to participate in assistance programs, following up on incidents sent to them by the Patrol Division, conducting training and informative events, and helping to manage police programs.
CIT’s expansion is the result of the increased demand on patrol officers to work with and resolve homeless-based issues. By pairing up, Jason and Mike are able to augment the crisis intervention work that all patrol officers already work on, while focusing on the most chronic cases.
Since CIT's reorganization, the two officers have been visiting homeless camps and coordinating the appropriate resources to assist individuals in working their way back to a position of stability.
Oregon has many challenges in the sphere of homelessness and mental health. Transition Projects reports Oregon has the fourth highest rate of homelessness per capita in the United States, and Oregon’s ranking in prevalence of mental illness is number one. The cost of rent in the City of Portland rose at the highest rate in the U.S. in 2016. Additionally, the 2018 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s report to Congress ranked Oregon’s rate of unsheltered homeless people as second worst in the nation.
Our local mental health and homeless service providers, along with the Hillsboro Police Department, have been working to overcome these challenges and provide the best possible services for our at risk citizens. These efforts include strengthening communication between service partners, increasing proactive homeless outreach in the field, and a broader dissemination of information on available services.
If you're in need of assistance, please contact any of the following:
Community Connect (503-640-3263) Housing and financial assistance.
Washington County Crisis Team (503-291-9111) Mental health services; available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Hawthorn Walk-In Center (5240 NE Elam Young Parkway, Suite 100, Hillsboro) Mental health or substance abuse assistance; open everyday 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. They provide urgent care for mental health and addiction services on a walk-in basis. It's recommended to call the Crisis Team in advance of going to Hawthorn, but it is not required.