Last week, law enforcement from across LaPorte County gathered in Michigan City to voluntarily take part in the third in a series of 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT). This grant-funded program provides advanced crisis training for mental health incidents. On Thursday, Nest’s Executive Director, Harrison Holtkamp, sat on a panel with several other area social services organizations to share more information with law enforcement on the communities they serve and how the organizations can work in coordination with law enforcement for the benefit of individuals struggling with mental health issues.

The course, tailored to law enforcement professionals, covered various aspects of mental health, including common disorders, symptoms, and effective communication strategies. The officers delved into the available social services and support systems designed to aid individuals in their journey towards stability. This proactive approach not only equipped law enforcement with valuable knowledge but also paved the way for officers to feel more familiar with Nest Community Shelter and the services we offer.

Harrison Holtkamp, joins several area support service providers to have a panel discussion on collaboration, and partnership in the community.

To further enhance collaboration, the Nest Executive Director, Harrison Holtkamp, along with other social services directors, participated in a panel discussion. This open forum provided an opportunity for law enforcement officers to pose questions to the panel, gaining insights into the available services and resources for individuals in need. The exchange of information facilitated a better understanding of the challenges each entity faced and laid the foundation for future collaboration.

As part of their commitment to understanding the realities on the ground, law enforcement officers took the time to tour our shelter and several other area social services and community organizations that support those experiencing mental illness. Walking through our shelter allowed the officers to ask more questions about the shelter in real-time. Nest’s Executive Director shared some of the firsthand challenges faced by those grappling with homelessness and mental health issues. This experience humanized the struggles and fostered a sense of empathy and further understanding among the officers.


Harrison Holtkamp said when reflecting on this event, “This panel discussion wasn’t just a one-time event; it marked the beginning of ongoing collaboration between law enforcement and social service providers. Communication channels were established, allowing for a continuous exchange of information, experiences, and strategies to address the complex needs of those struggling with mental health and homelessness.”


The collaborative efforts between our small homeless shelter, local law enforcement, and social service providers have paved the way for a more compassionate and informed approach to addressing mental health challenges in our community. By taking the initiative to understand and learn from one another, we are fostering a sense of unity and support that will undoubtedly make a lasting impact on the lives of those in need. As we continue to build bridges and break down barriers, we remain hopeful that our city will emerge as a shining example of how collaboration and empathy can create positive change for the most vulnerable among us.