Mayor Elicker holds town hall meeting to discuss new crisis response team in New Haven

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Mayor Justin Elicker held the last of three town hall events Thursday night to inform the New Haven community of the design and implementation of the New Haven Community Crisis Response Team.

The purpose of the response team is to help de-escalate, reduce harm, and provide rapid access to social services during moments of distress.

The program developed after the killing of Geroge Floyd and is the first for the city of New Haven.

“We are rethinking what public safety means in New Haven and the creation of the Community Crisis Response Team is an important component of our efforts. It is so important that we have input from the entire community to ensure that this new response team is effective and meets the needs of the residents it is intended to serve,” Mayor Elicker said.

The funding for this team and the one-year pilot program comes from a $2 million federal grant.

This alternative team will use medical professionals to respond to non-emergency calls to address diverse issues that do not require a law enforcement presence.

“This first response team will be a civilian first response team, led by individuals who are trained in mental health crisis, de-escalation techniques, understanding how to deal with people who are homeless,” said Dr. Mehul Dalal, New Haven’s community services administrator.

The response team will focus on violence prevention, mental health, homelessness, crisis response, and re-entry services for previous offenders.

“If we have a team that’s compassionate enough to be there and remind them that it’s going to be okay, and help them process and come back to reality. Little things go a long way,” said Channise Ortega of New Haven.

People News 8 spoke with said this feedback is crucial as they work to launch this team.

“You can’t make decisions for a community that you know nothing about — so this is a great opportunity for all of us to be involved in,” said Richard Youins, a recovery peer with the Program from Recovery and Community Health.

These events are being sponsored by the City of New Haven and organized by the Connecticut Mental Health Center through its Program from Recovery and Community health.

There is not yet a launch date for the program.

You can register for the events online at ccrt.newhavenct.gov, call/text at 475-212-2510, or email at ccrt@newhavenct.gov. If you are unable to attend the events, you can leave comments and feedback on the website.

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