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San Diego’s Serial Inebriate Program Gains National Attention

Reported by Guillermo Sevilla

The nonprofit Serial Inebriate Program, which was created 15 years ago in San Diego to help homeless people, is getting national attention.

The program helps individuals who have been sent to four-hour sobering services more than four times in a 12-month period. Those people are offered alcohol and drug treatment services instead of incarceration.

The program's clients are also homeless. On average, participants have spent nearly 16 years living on the streets.

Cities like San Francisco, New Orleans and Las Vegas, have noticed the program’s success and are looking to it for help.

Program manager Deni McLagan said they are encouraged by the interest from other cities in the work they are doing.

"We assist them with developing a treatment program that's really focused on chronic inebriates and then beyond that — how the arrest works, how the criminal justice system works, and building that collaboration," McLagan said.

The program now has a temporary housing space where 32 clients are learning to deal and heal from years of neglect and homelessness.

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