Helping families to go from homelessness to housed without entering the shelter system.
A LIGHT TOUCH APPROACH
Our Diversion program launched in a pilot phase on May 1, 2020, and helped its first family secure permanent housing on May 8, 2020!
This year-long pilot in 2020 was made possible by a $1.2 million dollar partnership between Family Promise (the national office) and Synchrony, a leading consumer financial services company. Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis was one of ten affiliates throughout the country receiving a $50,000 seed grant from Family Promise (Nationa) to start the program.
What is diversion? Diversion is helping families at the shelter door find/maintain other non-shelter accomodations until permanent housing can be secured quickly.
The program doesn't divert a family from homelessness, as the family is already experiencing it, most often doubled-up in the home of family or friends. It does divert a family from shelterto try to avoid that trauma and yet another move/relocation. If the family can negotiate (with our help) to stay where they are for up to 30 days, our goal is to help them secure permanent housing, or a path to it, without any need to bring their children to a shelter stay.
What services does the Diversion Program provide? Working with ten families at a time, the case manager offers the following:
Mediation services with family/friends and/or their landlord to extend permission to stay for up to 30 days;
Expediting of applications for public assistance like SNAP (i.e., food stamps), CCDF vouchers (i.e., childcare), etc.;
Agency referrals and transportation to secure other services, including health evaluation and treatment (physical/mental), job search, housing search, etc.;
Advocacy with landlords to fight through barriers to housing; and
Financial assistance to secure permanent housing when needed, including but not limited to first month's rent, security deposit, and/or utility deposits.
At thirty days, a family should either have a permanent housing plan in place and not need shelter, or they are reserved the next open space in Family Promise's shelter. If they secure permanent housing, they are invited to join Family Promise's AfterCare program immediately for up to two years to help retain or improve that housing.
Diversion helps families with children avoid the trauma of a shelter stay, while saving shelter capacity for those most in need. This program can have a big impact considering Indianapolis family shelters still receive more than ten calls per day for shelter.
Important note: Diversion is not eviction prevention. If a family has a lease in their name, even with a pending eviction, they need to contact or be referred to a Prevention program. Diversion is specifically targeted at those families that are already experiencing homelessness and are at the "shelter's door." It is one element of a complete homelessness intervention and prevention system, as is Prevention.
To see if your family is eligible for Diversion, call 317-261-1562 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or visit 1850 N. Arsenal Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46218. For any other questions, email Masha Nelson, Home-based Program Manager, at email@example.com.
RESOURCES FOR PROGRAM DIRECTORS
Are you interested in starting a Diversion program? For questions, email Whitney Johnson, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below are draft resources that you can feel free to use as a starting point for the project. We would welcome your comments or suggestions.
Diversion Signature Forms: