San Diego's $1.25M plan: One-time average payments of $1,500 to keep 85% from homelessness

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Story by Jeanette Quezada  |  See full story on NBC 7

A local leader, nonprofits and others are working on a project called the Homeless Diversion Initiative, which has been successful in the past could keep San Diegans from losing their homes.

San Diego County leaders said the money will help 800 people on the brink of homelessness get the support they need before it's too late.

"We all know that tackling homelessness is not a one-size-fits-all approach," County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer said. "Every person's story is different, and every person's story requires their own intervention. Diversion is a proven practice where we try to intervene right before someone falls off the cliff into chronic homelessness and provides immediate, meaningful solutions to prevent them from ending up permanently on the streets."

Lawson-Remer said the diversion initiative has proven effective: Data from the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness showed that, over the past four years, diversion programs have kept nearly 2,000 people in San Diego from becoming homeless. They also found that, on average, $1,500 in one-time flexible funding was enough to keep 85 percent of households stably housed.

"We can help six times more people through diversion than we can through the traditional approaches we've been following,” Lawson-Remer said.

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