Communities across the country face a shortage of homeless-dedicated permanent housing resources to assist everyone seeking assistance from a community’s homeless response system. To meet the challenge of having high demand but limited housing resources, communities have been encouraged to adopt problem-solving approaches to help individuals and families resolve their housing crises as quickly as possible without depending on dedicated permanent housing resources or subsidies.

Diversion is one of those problem-solving approaches, assisting newly homeless families and individuals to identify alternative permanent housing or provides necessary support to stay out of the shelter system. Diversion assistance may include:

  • Housing location
  • Security deposit assistance
  • Temporary rental assistance (including rent arrears)
  • Short-term case management
  • Application fees
  • Utility deposits and payments

Effective tactics can divert someone away from a shelter stay or night in their vehicle into a housed situation, connecting people to resources to help them avoid the trauma of becoming homeless. 

Those trained in Diversion tactics include the staff from shelters, outreach teams, day centers, health center and service providers as well as San Diego Housing Commission and the County of San Diego. Because Diversion can mean something different for each person, this approach is meant to be personalized to the strengths, skills, and barriers that are unique to each client and empower them to make safe and appropriate decisions for their housing. It allows a chance, with a little support, to stay in housing.

For providers and our system as a whole, effective Diversion strategies allows more room for other, higher-need clients in their shelters and greater resources for those individuals. We look forward to implementing the best practices around Diversion and its impact on ending homelessness.


In 2018, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness (RTFH) contracted with Ed Boyte and colleagues from the Cleveland Mediation Center (CMC) to provide direct training on Diversion strategies to San Diego Homeless Service Providers. Diversion is an intervention designed to address a person’s immediate housing crisis and help to divert them from a shelter stay, night in their vehicle or other unhoused living situation to a housed situation instead.

Ed Boyte is a nationally recognized expert in employing strong mediation and conflict resolution practices. The sessions of training include a train-the-trainer model to ensure we have consistent implementation and training on an ongoing basis across our region. Diversion can look different for every person and is based on exploring immediate solutions and resources already available to a person and to determine a solution to their housing crisis.

With this in mind, in 2021 Ed Boyte contracted with RTFH to provide additional knowledge and support to the communities’ train the trainer group to create a Diversion training specific for San Diego County. Those trained include staff from shelters, outreach teams, day centers, health centers, and service providers as well as the San Diego Housing Commission and the County of San Diego.

Diversion training is meant to provide staff with skills like mediation, negation, conflict resolution, active listening and strengths-based approaches to assist people with getting into a safe housing alternative.

If your agency has any questions about Diversion strategies, please email

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If you need immediate assistance, please visit this website or call 2-1-1 for information on resources and services near you.

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