NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven’s new initiative that has mental health and substance abuse experts respond to 911 calls with police has seen results within its first 90 days.

“We’re making real change,” said Ta’LannaMonique Lawson-Dickerson, an advisory board member for the program.

City leaders provided an update on Friday about the Elm City COMPASS initiative’s first 90 days., stating that the program has helped hundreds of people.

The pilot program works alongside police and first responders by aiding in 9-1-1 calls involving mental health and substance abuse.

“Officers are very good at responding to a mental health call, but then where do we go?” New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said. “For us, that officer has to respond to the next call.”

COMPASS stands for Compassionate Allies Serving Our Streets. It’s made up of a group of social workers and peer recovery specialists who immerse themselves into the community to find people in need and connect them to the right care.

“COMPASS’ work with the city is the right people with the right skills showing up at the right time,” Mayor Justin Elicker said.

The team responded to 250 incidents in the first 90 days. One-third were assisting emergency calls, while most were self-deployed by being out in the community.

COMPASS team clinician Jennifer Vargas said that building relationships and trust takes a special approach.

“Go in there with humility, trying to meet people where they are and just left them know you’re not police, you’re not fire, we’re not here to take you away,” she said. “It can be synonymous with being hospitalized, but we’re not trying to do that.”

Vargas has connected people with detox beds, a therapist or psychiatrist, and even housing.

“At first, they were really denying connecting with us and I went to go see him and he actually gave me a call and said, ‘I’m ready Jennifer.’ He’s at one of our crisis programs now,” Vargas said. “He’s reconnected to his medications and providers and he reconnected with religion so he’s doing really, really, really well, so I’m happy to see that and we’re going to get him housing as well.”

This pilot continues through June, but Elicker said the city has already decided to continue the program and will even expanding it by adding more hours and another team.