Program that has police referring homeless to services sees positive results

Published: Oct. 30, 2019 at 4:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An intensive social work program being tested in Chinatown has successfully reduced crime, according to a university study.

The law enforcement-assisted diversion program ― called LEAD ― had police officers referring homeless people to social workers with access to multiple services.

The program cost $200,000 and had 37 enrolled clients. They had 55% fewer citations from police, spent 38% fewer nights on the street, and had 62 more days where they felt hope for their future.

“It’s super, super exciting,” said Honolulu Police Capt. Mike Lambert. “I’m a very optimistic person and the data they are showing is much better than I had hoped for.”

Organizers say the next stage will be to motivate clients into the program by giving them a choice of either accepting help or being issued a citation.

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