Los Angeles residents calling 911 about nonviolent homelessness issues will be redirected to trained, unarmed professionals by law enforcement agencies as part of a pilot program announced Tuesday.
The new initiative is being tested in Hollywood and Venice, where teams, including outreach workers and mental health clinicians, have been deployed part-time in neighborhoods with a concentration of people with homelessness and high service levels.
Starting next month, the teams will be available around the clock to respond to emergency calls from the 911 emergency system and the police emergency number.
“The teams will continue to develop a relationship with the community that has not been housed, carry out light hygiene work, de-escalate situations that arise and provide referrals to local service providers,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office announcing the program.
The Community-Led Crisis and Incident Response Program is part of Garcetti’s far-reaching plan to address a runaway homeless problem. The mayor has proposed nearly $ 1 billion in the coming year.
City Council President Nury Martinez said Tuesday that the new program will relieve police from dealing with nonviolent situations where a clinician may be better suited.
“There is no clearer example of this country lacking a robust social safety net than when people show up with guns to respond to a nonviolent psychological crisis,” Martinez said.
Los Angeles will co-run the program with Urban Alchemy, an LA-based nonprofit that enables the city’s portable showers and toilets and several of its temporary shelters for homeless residents.