MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Officers hit the streets around 6:45 a.m. Thursday to deliver care packages to the city’s homeless population.
The department’s officers distributed boxes donated by Roundy’s Supermarkets that contained items like socks, gloves, non-perishable food, water, and hygiene products.
Roundy’s teamed up with the MPD’s Homeless Outreach Team in the effort. The company donated 50 boxes.
Homeless Outreach Officer Chad Stiles said the team consists of roughly 100 officers throughout the city. Stiles said they undergo 16 hours of training and patrol Milwaukee with the goal of helping to refer the homeless to local resources and, eventually, get them into housing.
“When we go out and see the type of despair some of these folks are in, it can be very emotionally challenging,” Stiles said. “There are a variety of reasons why people end up homeless – mental health, substance abuse, economic issues, so our Homeless Outreach Officers are trained specifically to assess and then refer them to the appropriate resource."
He said the Homeless Outreach Team’s duties are performed in addition to their “primary” missions, like patrol.
Stiles said distributing the care packages on Thursday should help officers make inroads with some of the city’s least fortunate people.
“It helps us build relationships with homeless individuals, and build trust with them,” he said. “So that way, eventually, we can get the information we need to get them into various local housing programs.”
Stiles added the month of February can be a rough one for the homeless. Temperatures remain cold, and he said there tends to be a lull in giving to charities after the holiday season. He and other MPD officers dropped off some of the boxes at a shelter on First and Saveland Thursday.
“We really appreciate it,” said David Wubker, who’s been staying at the shelter since Christmas.“The gloves and the socks really help."