Diversion is a housing first, person-centered, and strengths-based approach to help households identify the choices and solutions to end their homeless experience with limited interaction with the crisis response system. Diversion is explored with households accessing the Seattle/King County crisis response system who are experiencing literal homelessness or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence without a safe housing option. It assists households to quickly secure permanent or temporary housing by encouraging creative and cost-effective solutions that meet their unique needs. It is a short-term intervention focused on identifying immediate, safe housing arrangements, often utilizing conflict resolution and mediation skills to reconnect people to their support systems. Diversion offers flexible services that may be coupled with minimal financial assistance when needed.
This unique approach engages households early in their housing crisis. A staff member trained in the techniques of diversion initiates an exploratory conversation to brainstorm practical solutions for households to resolve their homelessness quickly and safely. Staff help households see beyond their current crisis by encouraging them to generate creative ideas and identify realistic options for safe housing based on their own available resources rather than those of the crisis response system.
Diversion Training(s) facilitated by King County’s Diversion Coaches:
Our training is provided to individuals who work directly with our neighbors experiencing homelessness. Individuals who are literally homeless are eligible for Diversion services. We strongly encourage organizations who do not traditionally receive Diversion funds to register to attend.
[We charge $18 to hold your spot for the training. Once you complete the training, you will receive a full refund.]
About the Centralized Diversion Fund:
The Centralized Fund has been a well utilized resource since it began in December 2018—to date, more than 300 households have used the fund to end their experience of homelessness. We expect that current funding will be spent by the end of July 2019. While you may continue to access the fund until it is fully depleted, we wanted the community to have clear expectations of the limits of its availability. The impact of this new and unrestricted resource has been felt throughout King County. We are exploring opportunities to sustain the fund and will communicate if new funding becomes available.
King County Diversion Community Learning Circle:
In order to attend, you must have participated in the King County Diversion training from June 2018 to present.
Community Learning Circles are an opportunity to come back together with peer King County Diversion Coaches and colleagues involved in supporting our neighbors experiencing homelessness to share case studies, stories, challenges, and how it’s been engaging in Diversion conversations.
More dates coming soon for quarter 3!
Homelessness disproportionately impacts communities of color, and the Seattle/King County Continuum of Care (CoC) has made a commitment to advancing racial equity in its shelter and housing outcomes. Diversion has been proven to be an effective and efficient approach nationally for resolving homelessness and may also help to advance racial equity.
King County data suggests that Black/African American households utilize diversion at a higher rate than their overall representation in the homeless population in King County. This data indicates that efforts to expand diversion may impact disproportionality by connecting Black/African American households to permanent housing without a prolonged experience of homelessness and involvement in the homeless system.
What does the data tell us?
In King County, from 2017 to 2018, when diversion was used as a strategy:
•75% of households successfully obtained housing.
•Only 5% of households returned to homelessness six months after obtaining housing through diversion.
•On average, it took 18 days to house individuals and families by using diversion.
 Based on HMIS data on RAP diversion, available upon request from King County.
The Centralized Diversion Fund (CDF) is a system-wide resource that was developed between All Home, Africatown International, Building Changes, and other critical funding partners. Centralized access flexible funding ensures that services meet the individual needs of people experiencing homelessness, rather than forcing individuals in crisis to navigate a complex and confusing patchwork of programs.
Based on initial data from the CDF, families pursuing Diversion were able to obtain safe housing successfully about half the time and at a lower cost when compared to other interventions.
We are grateful to current funders of the CDF, Building Changes, Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation, and Schultz Family Foundation.
For more information, please click here
July 2019 Update:
The Centralized Fund has been a well utilized resource since it began in December 2018—to date, more than 375 households have used the fund to end their experience of homelessness. You may continue to access the fund for youth/young adults and families (single adults/individuals are no longer able to be served at this time due to restricted funds).
We wanted the community to have clear expectations of the limits of its availability. The impact of this new and unrestricted resource has been felt throughout King County. We are exploring opportunities to sustain the fund and will communicate when new funding becomes available.