The Rialto Police Department and SWAG team up to address homelessness
As homelessness increases nationally, the City of Rialto focused on solutions that are practical, compassionate, and effective.
Rialto PD understands that there are deep-rooted issues that require expertise above and beyond the parameters of normal policing. Since June 1, 2020, Rialto PD has joined forces with the Social Work Action Group (SWAG), a nonprofit organization with the mission of advocating, educating, and inspiring individuals and families in the Inland Empire to achieve sustainable independence through community support. SWAG offers outreach expertise and a plethora of resources to enhance Rialto's community team.
This partnership was funded by the San Bernardino County Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) grant. The grant, which ends May 31, 2021, has provided funding for SWAG outreach personnel, security deposits for homeless individuals, hotel vouchers, and administrative services. The city of Rialto has seen a drastic improvement in the quality of life issues and homeless-related activities.
From June 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, the program has:
- Identified 156 homeless individuals in the City
- Participated in 1125 separate engagements with homeless clients
- Transitioned 45 individuals from the streets into permanent housing
- Removed 49 tons of debris from properties throughout the City
Here's how the police department and SWAG provide assistance. When an officer responds to a call and determines an individual is homeless, the officer requests a response from the SWAG team. For each new client, SWAG begins by performing an intake questionnaire. The intake allows case managers to determine the extent and severity of an individual's situation and the mitigating circumstances which led to them becoming homeless. From there, the SWAG team develops a case plan with concrete steps to find a permanent solution to end the cycle of homelessness for the individual.
SWAG meets homeless individuals on the streets where they are and serves those most in need. Members of our chronically homeless population are not always willing or able to walk into county, state, federal, or other agencies for services. SWAG makes appointments for homeless clients, provides transportation, and assists with applications and paperwork. With many agencies and services going digital and migrating to online platforms, our homeless community has been especially impacted by the inability to obtain resources. Without access to computers and the internet, homeless individuals need assistance in applying for programs like social security, identification cards, rental applications, making medical appointments, and obtaining vital records. "I am pleased with the progress and impact of this program. This program has proven to be effective within the first six months and demonstrates the effectiveness of law enforcement partnering with non-law enforcement organizations such as SWAG", says Mark Kling, Chief of Police.
The Rialto City Council and police department are currently examining funding opportunities to extend this beneficial program. If you would like more information, please content Officer Amanda Deleon at