In June 2013, the department formed H.E.A.R.T, the Homeless, Engagement, Assistance & Resource Team. The team, with a sergeant, two officers and a clinician from the Orange County Centralized Assessment Team, is meant to develop and implement innovative strategies to effectively respond to transient related calls.
The benefits of a flexible team were apparent right from the start. After the first week's deployment, the team realized that a majority of the homeless contacts involved mentally ill persons. Officers knew they needed additional resources, and so partnered with representatives from Orange County Mental Health and the Centralized Assessment Team to find long term solutions for these individuals.
Part of the H.E.A.R.T. officers’ success involves reuniting the mentally ill/homeless with their families, enabling them to access treatment centers. Collaboration with organizations such as Veteran’s Administration, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Salvation Army and various non-profit and faith- based organizations makes these successes possible.