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CIRCLE program  expands to South LA


Better response to mental health crises

 An unarmed response program aimed at diverting calls such as ones involving the homeless and mental health crises away from the Los Angeles Police Department will expand to cover the Harbor Area.

Mayor Karen Bass and City Councilman Tim McOsker (15th District) said the Crisis and Incident Response through Community-led Engagement (CIRCLE) program will expand service in parts of the Harbor Gateway, Harbor City, Wilmington and San Pedro, as well as Watts in South L.A.

“CIRCLE is a proven program to help Angelenos and I am excited that it will be expanding into the Harbor Area,’’ Bass said in a statement. “We hear the calls of residents and businesses all across the city and now with the expansion of CIRCLE, there will be more options and strategies available to respond to calls about unhoused residents or residents needing care through effective community-based non-punitive safety strategies.’’

The program already operates in Hollywood, Downtown L.A., South L.A., Venice and parts of the San Fernando Valley.

Last year, the CIRCLE program expanded its original service areas, responding to 8,763 calls for service with an average response time of less than 26 minutes, and launched four additional service areas, Bass’ office said.

The public can request assistance through CIRCLE by dialing the non-emergency line at (877)275-5273 or (877) ASK-LAPD, and select the “non-emergency dispatch’’ option.

“I am encouraged that we are investing in unarmed responses that work for our residents–housed and unhoused–in our city,’’ McOsker said in a statement.

He added, “In partnership with Mayor Bass, we’re expanding the CIRCLE program from Harbor Gateway South down through the Harbor Area to provide mental health professionals and individuals with lived experiences to help those who need our support.’’

McOsker noted that with the expansion of the program, the city will be able to provide residents with “effective response services’’ they need.