Apply Now to Join Reducing Housing Barriers to Jail Diversion Community of Practice

July 11, 2024

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center is hosting a three-session virtual community of practice (CoP) to explore how communities can better divert people from jail into stable housing and services. It will highlight emerging strategies and best practices, feature communities undertaking this work to share lessons they have learned, and include opportunities for participants to discuss common challenges. Participants will also be introduced to the Zero Returns to Homelessness framework and learn how to apply it during diversion to connect people to housing.  

Upon completion of the Reducing Housing Barriers to Jail Diversion CoP, participants will have (1) a better understanding of the evidence-based housing models they can leverage when considering diversion programs, (2) awareness of different emerging best practices being used by communities across the country, and (3) an implementation plan centered around the Zero Returns to Homelessness initiative that they apply in their own communities. Participants will also have an opportunity to connect with peers to solve common challenges and barriers faced in the field.  

This CoP will be led by CSG Justice Center policy staff with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, as part of the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program.

Session dates for the CoP will take place from 2:00—3:30 p.m. ET via Zoom web meeting and will be held on the following dates: 

  • July 31, 2024 
  • August 28, 2024 
  • September 25, 2024 

Teams interested in participating should submit the below application by Monday, July 22, 2024. A CSG Justice Center staff member will follow up with applicants by Thursday, July 25, 2024. 

If you have any questions, contact Joey Hayashi at 

This application should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. 

Who should apply?

This CoP is intended for collaborative teams consisting of leaders from the justice and housing/homeless assistance systems at the local, municipal, county, regional or Tribal level. These teams don’t need to be formalized, pre-existing collaborations. However, members must demonstrate a history of collaborative, cross-systems efforts to assess housing needs for people with behavioral health conditions in the justice system.   

Who should participate?

Teams must be composed of two core members: one person each from the justice and housing/homeless service sectors. These members do not need to be senior leaders, but they should be people with decision-making authority. Examples include sheriff’s department managers or supervisors, police department command staff or homeless outreach team leaders, public housing authority directors, and Continuum of Care lead agency senior staff. Up to three additional team members are allowed to be on the team, representing behavioral health and social service partners; funding agencies; elected officials; people within the justice, homeless assistance, or behavioral health care systems; or other key partners.  

What will the sessions cover?

Session 1 will introduce key evidence-based diversion models that can be used to support people with behavioral health needs. It is designed to help participants gain a foundational understanding of the housing principles that inform the Housing First approach and break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness. Participants will be introduced to the Zero Returns to Homelessness initiative and learn how they can use it to support diversion efforts. Lastly, participants will have the opportunity to hear from one community about their efforts to divert people from jail into housing. 

Session 2 will introduce participants to diversion opportunities that can occur before people ever come into contact with the courts through community-led and law enforcement efforts. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their experiences engaging in these kinds of efforts previously and learn how they can practically apply the Zero Returns to Homelessness initiative to support these efforts in the future. Finally, participants will hear from a panel of Law Enforcement-Mental Health Learning Sites to learn about their work through homeless outreach teams to connect people to housing. 

Session 3 will explore the role that courts, such as specialty courts, can play in facilitating diversion from jail. Participants will have a chance to discuss intervention models–such as Intensive Case Management–available through the courts system and their coordination with services. During this session, participants will join group discussions and engage with two guest communities to build up group knowledge and increase their understanding of court-based diversion.   



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Project Contact

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Policy Analyst, Behavioral Health
Joseph Hayashi provides technical assistance focused on substance use disorders, co-occurring substance use disorders, and mental illnesses to enhance collaboration between local and state agencies. Before joining the CSG Justice Center, Joseph directed a program for local youth in an
underserved area. Previously, Joseph worked for the Jackson County, Oregon, Transition Center, where he worked with incarcerated individuals who had substance use needs. Joseph has a BS in criminal justice from Southern Oregon University and an MA in international policy and development from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
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