Fairfax County’s Diversion First initiative has added housing to the program that offers alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness, developmental disability or substance use disorder who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low level offenses.
“It was recognized that lack of housing was a barrier for people who were eligible for diversion; approximately $500,000 was allocated by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to help remedy this critical issue,” according to Daryl Washington, Deputy Director for the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board. “Without housing, there was often no place for a diverted person to go; this gap had to be addressed.”
In a collaborative effort with local community non-profit partner, New Hope Housing, steps were taken to provide stability and long term independence and self-sufficiency skills to people who might have previously ended up incarcerated for low level offenses.
Along with the housing, the CSB will provide clinical and support services.
Diversion First offers alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness or developmental disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low level offenses.
The goal of Diversion First is to intercede whenever possible to provide people with assessment, treatment or other needed supports. People needing diversion may also have a substance use disorder, which often co-occurs with mental illness.
Diversion First is designed to prevent repeat encounters with the criminal justice system, improve public safety, promote a healthier community, and is a more cost-effective and efficient use of public funding.
Attend the upcoming Diversion First stakeholder meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, Rooms 2/3.
Contact for news media inquiries: CSB Communications Team, 703-324-7000.