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Homeless Court Program

Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) participates in the Homeless Court Program (HCP), which began in 1988 at VVSD Stand Down. Due to the overwhelming need of the indigent and an overburdened court system, HCP fills a valuable community need.

The Homeless Court Program provides the perfect partnership between the court, prosecutor, public defender, and local service agencies to help resolve legal issues for the homeless population.

HCP helps to remove the obstacles that prevent homeless and indigent individuals from reintegrating back into the community addressing a broad spectrum of misdemeanor offenses including jaywalking, charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance, theft, and driving under the influence.  Misdemeanors with growing fees and fines become a hurdle that many simply cannot overcome. In fact many will state after participating in HCP, “a ton of bricks has been lifted from my shoulders.”

Advocacy letters and certificates, proof of activities ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND ASPIRATIONS

are all supporting documentation reviewed by the court

✓ Life-skills classes
✓ Chemical dependency or AA/NA meetings
✓ Computer training or literacy classes
✓ Training or searching for employment
✓ Counseling or volunteer work

HCP sentencing provides “credit for time served” for the participant’s accomplishments in shelter activities.  These activities include life-skills, chemical dependency or AA/NA meetings, computer and literacy classes, training or searching for employment, medical care (physical and mental), and counseling.  These activities replace the traditional court sentence options of fines, public work service, and custody.  The alternative sentencing structure is not coercive or punitive in nature, but rather designed to address the underlying causes of a person’s homelessness and recognize the person’s efforts to make changes to improve his or her life.

HCP has been a tremendous success from the first Stand Down in 1988, where 116 of 500 homeless veterans stated that their greatest need was to resolve outstanding bench warrants to 4,895 cases between 1989 and 1992 for 942 homeless veterans being resolved. Because of the increased demand for the HCP, it has expanded from annual, to quarterly, and now, monthly sessions. Today more than 10,000 individuals have participated in HCP and are moving towards reclaiming their lives of dignity and productivity.