LEAD homeless diversion program shows positive results, will expand
LEAD stands for Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. This program, piloted in 2018-2019 allows Honolulu Police Department officers to connect a homeless person who wants help with the Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center. HHHRC sends a case worker in less than 15 minutes to assist the person in need.
Once someone enters the LEAD program, they are given support and access to resources through HHHRC. This support comes in the form of healthcare, short-term wound care, access to housing and drug rehabilitation services.
David Shaku, LEAD Program Manager talks about the services provided to those who join LEAD saying "We have walked clients through every day frustrations like court appointments, ordering birth certificates and getting state IDs. Providing sustained support through chaotic substance use, life threatening illness, incarceration and even end of life care."
"We’re getting services to people instead of punishing them," Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor Dr. Josh Green explained.
The official results from LEAD's pilot year were released today.
People who partook in LEAD had
55% fewer cited encounters with law enforcement
A 38% decrease in nights spent unsheltered
An 18% decrease in methamphetamine usage
A 32% drop in emergency room visits.
"The data that is showing is even better than what I hoped for," said the Honolulu Police Department's Capt. Mike Lambert.
According to the Hawaii Department of Health, the LEAD program on Maui began in June, and it is expanding to Kaua'i and the Big Island by the end of 2019.