FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – “One call does it all:” That’s the goal of the city of Fresno’s new initiative they’re calling HART (Homeless Assistance Response Team).

Mayor Jerry Dyer says one call to 3-1-1 will be all citizens need to do to report problematic homeless activity. “I want people to know: 311 is what they’re going to use to report homeless to the City of Fresno,” he said.

The team will be made up of 18 employees from Poverello House, 10 city code enforcement employees, and a group of officers from the Fresno Police Department. They will ensure public safety within the unhoused community, do cleanups, and help property owners.

“My team is composed of a group of veteran officers who were specifically chosen for their experience and expertise,” said Sergeant Steven Jaquez.

According to the city, the current homeless population in Fresno is 4,000. 1500 of them are said to have temporary housing, while 2500 remain without shelter.

Dyer says 600 people were moved from freeway encampments to motel housing last year through Project Offramp. He also says 80% of the people who were offered shelter took advantage of it, and 50% of them are successfully transitioning into permanent types of housing.

“Although we had much success in 2021, we have a lot of work ahead,” he said.

Dyer says 3-1-1 will operate 24/7, and which employees respond is based on the situation.

“There are going to be times when only the HART outreach team responds – without police, without code. There are going to be times when just the police department responds. What people need to know is not how we do it, and not how we respond, just simply that they need to call 311 because one call does it all,” he said.

If there is a crime taking place or direct danger, police remind residents to call 9-1-1.