Existing law governs the jurisdiction of various criminal actions and criminal proceedings. Existing law also provides various diversion programs, including programs for defendants with cognitive disabilities and programs for defendants who were, or currently are, members of the United States military.
This bill, upon an appropriation by the Legislature, would create the Homeless Courts Pilot Program, which would remain in effect until January 1, 2029, to be administered by the Judicial Council for the purpose of providing comprehensive community-based services to achieve stabilization for, and address the specific legal needs of, homeless individuals who are involved with the criminal justice system. The bill would require applicant cities or counties seeking grant funds to provide a number of specified services or program components, including, but not limited to, a diversion program enabling participating defendants to have specified charges dismissed upon completion of a program, provision of temporary, time-limited, or permanent housing during the duration of the program, and a dedicated representative to assist defendants with housing needs. The bill would require an applicant for grant funding under the program to submit a plan for a new homeless court program or expansion of an existing homeless court program, and would require any funding awarded to an applicant to be used in accordance with that plan. The bill would also require the Judicial Council, on or before July 1, 2027, to submit a report to the Legislature evaluating the programs funded and the success and challenges of those programs, along with recommendations for improving the programs. The bill would require the Judicial Council, in collaboration with subject matter experts, to establish performance-based outcome measures for each participating homeless court, including, among other things, information relating to the demographics of program participants, housing placements for all participants, and successful substance use disorder treatment rates.