Diversion is a strategy that diverts households from the shelter system by assisting them to either remain where they have been living or to identify alternate safe and suitable housing arrangements. The housing option may not be ideal, and it may only serve as a temporary solution as the household works out a long-term plan. An effective Diversion strategy reduces the number of families becoming homeless and, therefore, the demand for shelter beds and waiting lists. Diversion helps households avoid the stress, disorientation and trauma associated with entering into the shelter system.
Diversion provides light-touch assistance, including limited, extremely flexible financial assistance. Diversion assistance looks for all housing options, whether staying in place or alternative housing, identifies barriers to those housing options and comes up with immediate solutions for overcoming the barriers. The strategy focuses on the household’s strengths, not deficits, and exploration of all the possible resources at hand to keep them housed. Diversion recognizes client choice and safety. Each household presents a unique situation to be resolved. Diversion requires active listening, creative problem-solving and mediation skills.
Below are resources for introductory staff diversion training:
National Alliance to End Homelessness: