ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local officials said a multi-pronged approach is needed to address public safety, and they are trying to improve access to treatment for people suffering from mental health challenges.

A new initiative meant to do that is launching this week in the Lark Street neighborhood of Albany. Teams of police officers and social workers are going into the neighborhood to help assess the needs of community members who are homeless.

The eight-week pilot program was developed after neighbors and business leaders raised concerns about safety. The goal is to help people get the support they need.

“It essentially means giving law enforcement the mental health resources they need to properly respond to mental health crises instead of simply putting someone in jail,” Albany County Exec. Dan McCoy said.

“This isn’t about calling the police and arresting people,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said. “It’s about seeing people who are in crisis, who either have mental health or addiction issues, who people want to ensure get the help that they need.”

County leaders will assess the results once the program finishes at the end of May and decide whether to incorporate it in other neighborhoods.