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Homelessness Strategies and Solutions

Diversion Programs

San Diego offers a variety of alternatives to the criminal justice system for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and have committed certain offenses.

Homeless Court Program

Legal issues may hinder an individual who is experiencing homelessness from being able to establish residency or secure employment. The Homeless Court Program helps individuals address a full range of misdemeanor offenses, infractions and City of San Diego parking citations, with the exception of offenses for domestic violence, drug court, Proposition 36, and felonies.

Participation in the Homeless Court Program typically requires a referral from a local homeless-service agency that already makes referrals to the program.

Clean Plates

The "Clean Plates" program – a partnership between the City Treasurer’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office, the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office and the San Diego Homeless Court Steering Committee – offers relief to individuals experiencing homelessness who face the financial hurdle of paying off parking citations.

To be eligible for the program, individuals must submit all required information to the Public Defender’s Office prior to the deadline each month. The Public Defender will then submit all information to the City for review. Some of the requirements include:

  • Parking citations issued by the City of San Diego
  • Individual has not previously participated in the program
  • Participant is a client of an official Homeless Court Program Service Provider and has completed or substantially completed a recovery program
  • City Attorney and District Attorney have not otherwise disqualified the participant from the Homeless Court Program

Serial Inebriate Program (SIP)

Serial Inebriate Program (SIP) is a collaboration between the San Diego Police Department, the City Attorney’s Office, County of San Diego, emergency medical services, hospitals and the courts.

The 180-day program offers individuals deemed chronic inebriates treatment in lieu of custody. In addition to treatment, SIP provides intensive case management and access to financial, housing, and recovery resources.

How it Works

Individual found to be intoxicated in public 5 times within 30 days

Accepts referral to treatment instead of custody

Provided intensive case management and access to resources

Opportunities to transition to financial stability, permanent housing and long-term recovery

Prosecution and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (PLEADS)

Prosecution and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Services (PLEADS) offers drug-involved individuals an alternative to the criminal justice system.

This partnership between the San Diego Police Department, City Attorney’s Office and County of San Diego provides individuals under the influence of a controlled substance the opportunity to obtain supportive services.

Launched in May 2019, the program is a tool police officers can use to provide individuals access to resources as an alternative to enforcement action.