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San Diego County receives $6 million grant to assist people leaving county jails

The San Diego County Administration Building is shown on Jan. 12, 2021.
Zoë Meyers
The San Diego County Administration Building is shown on Jan. 12, 2021.

San Diego County announced on Monday that it has received $6 million in grant funding to help people released from jail with services such as behavioral health treatment and assistance in securing employment and housing.

San Diego County's award in Proposition 47 grant funding is earmarked for people leaving custody who have a history of behavioral health needs and are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In addition to the $6 million in grant funds, the county will commit $4 million toward the program, according to a news release.

The proposed program is expected to serve between 300 and 400 people starting in September.

"The goal of this grant and the work of the Community Care Coordination team is to help people leaving jail to gain independence, reduce criminal behavior and future returns to jail, and therefore improve public safety," said Andrea Pella, director of Prevention, Diversion and Re-Entry for San Diego County. "This program will provide connections to care and housing resources for those who may have otherwise been homeless upon their release from jail."

According to the county, those in custody will be referred to clinicians and peer support specialists, who will assess their needs and help connect them to support services.

Upon release, they will be transported by the Community Care Coordination Team to temporary housing and later connected to behavioral health services for ongoing treatment.

County officials say clients will also be introduced to job opportunities and benefit assistance. The Community Care Coordination Team will also assist them in reconnecting with family and developing longer term housing plans.

"It is a wonderful opportunity to expand the framework of an existing successful program and advance the goals of the board-driven alternatives to incarceration work that city and county health and justice partners are working tirelessly on," Pella said. "I appreciate the local advisory committee and county health partners' commitment and collaboration to assist in the successful re-entry of our justice-involved population into the community."