Orange police unit tries an open HEART for helping city’s homeless – Orange County Register

As the debate intensifies over how to address the increasing homeless population in the county, a special Orange Police Department unit is trying to use friendship and conversation to make a difference for those who want to leave the streets.

Started in 2013, the Homeless, Engagement, Assistance & Resource Team (H.E.A.R.T.) and its officers have served as full-time liaisons to the homeless, with a “hard on crime, not hard on people” approach that prioritizes reuniting the homeless with their families or placing them in shelters and other programs.

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