City officials say a new partnership will help connect homeless people in Anchorage to the services they need.

According to a press release from Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s office, the partnership is between the Anchorage Police Department, the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services and the nonprofit Anchorage Community Mental Health Services to provide a liaison for APD’s community action policing team, known as CAP.

The position will place an outreach social worker with police as they respond to homeless camps or people who are having mental health crises. Lt. Jack Carson said the position will be a big help in assessing people in need.

“They’re going out to the camps, they’re going out to the homeless community and they are talking to the mentally ill people with us,” Carson said. “It gives them much more opportunity to see what we are dealing with, and with that they have all the knowledge of the different outreach programs that can get them the help that they need.”

The new position, which is being filled by Anchorage Community Mental Health Services, is funded by a federal grant. It will be located within the Anchorage Police Department headquarters and assigned to the CAP team.

City homeless coordinator Nancy Burke said they are in the final phase of the hiring process and hope to have the position up and running by the first of the year.

KTVA 11’s Lauren Maxwell can be reached via email or on Twitter

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