Skip to main content

Investing in SF Pretrial Diversion Project to Break the Cycle of Homelessness and Incarceration

PUBLISHED: Mar 08, 2021

Tipping Point Invests in San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project to Break the Cycle of Homelessness and Incarceration

Jail Transition Support project provides care and services in jail and in the community to people disproportionately impacted by chronic homelessness

SAN FRANCISCO—Tipping Point Community, a nonprofit that advances promising poverty-fighting solutions in the Bay Area, is partnering with the nonprofit San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project (SF Pretrial) to connect individuals to critical resources to stop the cycle of homelessness and incarceration. The effort, known as the Jail Transition Support project, will receive up to $1 million over two years as part of Tipping Point Community’s Chronic Homelessness Initiative (CHI).

Release from jail is a critical time to stop the cycle of homelessness and incarceration. Though people experiencing homelessness account for approximately 30 percent of San Francisco’s jail population, per Point in Time Count data, justice-involved individuals are too often poorly connected to the city’s existing housing resources. Individuals with complex needs, including mental illness, substance use disorder, and cognitive or physical limitations, have limited access to the services required to break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness. Others with less severe needs are simply marginalized from existing resources to find and keep housing.

To remedy this, the new Jail Transition Support project will be run by SF Pretrial in close coordination with community partners and the city’s public health, homelessness, and justice agencies who are participating in the Safety and Justice Challenge to reduce San Francisco’s jail population. Individuals can access the following resources through the program based on their needs:

  • Connection to and advocacy with the Coordinated Entry process for people experiencing homelessness to ensure timely access to housing and resources, including assessment, problem solving, rapid re-housing, and Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
  • Case management in the jail and in the community through a grassroots, community approach in partnership with government agencies
  • Housing navigation for people who are on the housing referral waitlist to ensure they can quickly and successfully enter permanent housing
  • Flexible funding for interim housing where existing resources are not available or appropriate

“More resources and coordination are needed to ensure justice-involved people in San Francisco have safe, permanent housing,” said Nina Catalano, Senior Planner with the Chronic Homelessness Initiative. “The Jail Transition Support project intentionally focuses on housing as a key to increasing stability, health, and well-being. It proactively serves those impacted by criminalization and incarceration, who in San Francisco continue to disproportionately be communities of color, in order to promote equity in our criminal justice system and housing.”

“Community-based issues require community-based solutions,” said David Mauroff, Chief Executive Officer of SF Pretrial. “Working alongside but not within government is a proven solution that aligns our pretrial and direct service expertise with a nimble and effective response to client needs and public safety.”

San Francisco’s Safety and Justice Challenge, funded by the MacArthur Foundation and hosted by the District Attorney’s Office, provides a critical space for coordination among public and community partners. The Safety and Justice Challenge partners identified the need for additional support around pathways to stable housing, and lessons from the Jail Transition Support project will inform future efforts among the collaborative.

The Jail Transition Support project is the most recent example of Tipping Point’s partnership with SF Pretrial, a nonprofit founded in 1976 and national leader in providing community support to justice-involved people. A previous grant of $25,000 funded a Strategic Partnerships Manager position, filled by someone with lived experience, who oversaw the COVID-19 housing response and now manages the current project. SF Pretrial also received a COVID-19 emergency grant to help cover the cost of housing for individuals who would have otherwise exited jail to homelessness during the early days of the pandemic.


About Tipping Point Community

Tipping Point’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty for people in the Bay Area who don’t have the resources to meet their basic needs. Since 2005, Tipping Point has invested more than $300 million for housing, early childhood, education, and employment solutions in the region. Our board covers 100% of our operating costs, so every dollar donated goes where it’s needed most. Last year, our grantees provided life-changing services to more than 500,000 of our neighbors across the Bay Area. Visit us at

About San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project

The San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project (SF Pretrial) was established in 1976 through the joint efforts of socially conscious citizens, the San Francisco Bar Association and the Judges of the Municipal Courts. They began the program under the premise that the goals of community safety and restoration could be achieved by focusing on individual development, education and public service. Throughout SF Pretrial’s history, our staff have been guided by a philosophy of dignity, respect, compassion and accountability. Our clients have active criminal cases, and we never lose sight of the fact that they face potentially life-altering consequences at a vulnerable point in their lives. SF Pretrial has a deep history of partnership and collaboration in San Francisco, and our success is due in large part to our unique position at the nexus of the courts, prosecution and defense. Our full spectrum of services ranges from restorative justice and behavioral health support groups to pretrial diversion and release. We are embedded in the Courts and work adeptly in formal and informal contexts; providing outreach to clients in the streets, liaising with judges and working inside the jail to facilitate pretrial release. Neutrality is a key element to SF Pretrial’s success; our independent, nonprofit status allows us to deftly maneuver between the Courts, District Attorney’s Office, and Public Defender or Private Counsel to make recommendations on behalf of public safety and our clients.

About the Safety and Justice Challenge

With the support of the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge grant, the City and County of San Francisco is working to safely reduce the local jail population and eliminate racial disparities in the justice system. San Francisco’s Safety and Justice Challenge initiative is a partnership between the Superior Court, the Sheriff’s Office, Public Health Department, Adult Probation Department, Public Defender’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, community representatives designated by the San Francisco Reentry Council and the Family Violence Council, and community stakeholders such as the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project and Tipping Point Community. The partnership operates with oversight from the San Francisco Sentencing Commission which is convened by District Attorney Chesa Boudin.


Tipping Point Stories + News

Powerful leaders, strong solutions, everyday heroes. Read stories from our community.