Wichita’s Homeless Outreach Team is receiving national recognition. The team’s developer recently visited Washington, D.C. to meet with federal agencies.

Officer Nate Schwiethale says he started to develop the hot team in 2011, and they went live with the full team in February 2013.

He says since then, what makes their approach stand out is connecting homeless to resources in the community.

Officer Nate Schwiethale says his recent trip to Washington, D.C. was his first, and one he won’t forget. He was invited by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“It’s a great honor, and I think it’s probably going to lead us to a lot of other great things too,” said Officer Nate Schwiethale, HOT Team.

The founder of the Homeless Outreach Team says the invite comes after the team was selected as a best practice to combat homelessness. He says their interactions with the homeless is just one part of the equation. it also involves local partners.

“Getting them connected with the resources, changing their lives around, and lowering our homeless population and being that front line first responder for the providers who are trying to work here as well,” said Schwiethale.

Schwiethale says from 2011 to now, the chronic homeless population has decreased by 78 percent in Wichita. He says it’s a good feeling knowing the work he and his team are doing, is working.
Inter-Faith Ministries says the hot team is a great resource in the community, and the national recognition, is an honor.

“Their approach is amazing, they are out on the streets, under bridges, and abandoned buildings and really out-reaching anyone that they come into contact with the main goal of getting them off the streets,” said Christen Sampamurthy, Director of Programs and Compliance at Inter-Faith Ministries.

Schwiethale stressed that the decrease in chronic homelessness is due to their work with their partners in the city. A researcher was sent to Wichita to observe Officer Schwiethale and his partners before receiving this recognition.