A new public safety program has been launched in Portland as an alternative to sending police to mental health calls and homelessness. The program, Portland Street Response, will comprise of teams of five. The five members will consist of a firefighter, a paramedic, a mental health clinician and two community health workers. According to the Robyn Burek, the program manager, the team will start responding to calls in mid-February. “Our goal with Portland Street Response is to essentially serve as a stopgap between the homeless population and the police,” Burek explained. “To stop the cycle of people going in and out of the jail system as well as the emergency department system.” More of this story here.