City of Hermosa Beach logoThe City of Hermosa Beach today announced it will receive $1 million in federal funding to launch a mobile crisis response pilot program to provide help to people experiencing homelessness and mental health crises.

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu secured the funding at the request of the City of Hermosa Beach to develop and provide an alternate response model for mental health and behavior-related calls involving people experiencing homelessness in Hermosa. Currently, the Hermosa Beach Police Department is often the agency responding to calls involving unhoused residents who have mental health issues.

The City will use the federal funding to engage and support a civilian team that will respond instead of the police when the calls involve non-emergency and non-medical situations with individuals experiencing homelessness and in need of mental health services.

“We thank Rep. Lieu for securing the funding to develop a mental health crisis response model that can be scaled and duplicated throughout the region to address the growing issues of mental health and homelessness,” said City Manager Suja Lowenthal. “We receive almost daily requests for our police to respond to non-emergency situations involving people experiencing homelessness who have mental health crises. A police response diverts safety personnel from their primary duties and does little to address the root causes of the mental health issue behind the call.”

The mobile crisis response team will be trained and equipped to de-escalate situations and work in cooperation with Harbor Interfaith Services, which provides services for Hermosa’s unhoused residents. The mobile crisis response team will be able to provide information, referrals, transportation to services and additional follow-up support and case management to support Harbor Interfaith Services.

“Homelessness remains an incredible challenge in our country, but especially in our community,” said Rep. Lieu. “I’m pleased to secure federal funding for this program in Hermosa Beach that will serve to address some of the acute issues facing individuals experiencing homelessness.”

The City will evaluate the pilot program’s effectiveness in reducing demand for police services and securing help for people experiencing homelessness to determine whether the model can be used more widely to address mental health issues and homelessness in the region.