This past February, the Lubbock Police Department created the Homeless Outreach Team (H.O.T.) in order to address the growing homeless population in Lubbock. The team has been hard at work making connections and helping those in need.

The team is made up of three officers with 'Homeless Outreach Team' labeled on their vehicles in order to be easily identifiable.

"When we first got started back in February, we would drive to a place where the homeless ... congregate or whatever the case may be, drive down an alley where maybe someone sleeping, and right away, they'd get up and scurry off," Sergeant Eric Quijada said.

"Now that they're getting to know us, this helps us stand out," Quijada said. Sergeant Quijada also commented that he was surprised to get to this point so quickly.

The team works with other local organizations to help the homeless instead of chasing them off of the street or arresting them. The unit responds to all homeless calls along with many more emails, phone calls, and referrals from people or businesses.

"I think it's very important that with our team, we're able to point them to resources, as opposed to you need to leave or go to jail," Corporal Steven Bergen said.

"It's rare that someone turns down our help. But I just think the awareness of our program and what we can do for people and basically shepherd them into programs that will get them help and later on down the road," Quijada said.

For more information, go to the Homeless Outreach Team's website.

[via Everything Lubbock]