New diversion program launched to combat homelessness in Lincoln

June 4, 2018, 3:50 a.m. ·

A Lincoln nonprofit is looking to prevent homelessness before it begins through its new Homeless Diversion Program.

The program, organized by Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, looks to prevent homelessness by utilizing a three-pronged approach: helping individuals in the search for housing and placement, mediation and conflict resolution and providing information and referral services.

According to Matt Talbot, diversion is a homeless prevention process that allows people on the cusp of homelessness to find safe, appropriate housing.

“We saw how diversion programs were working well in other parts of the country and wanted Lincoln to benefit in those same ways,” Lincoln Urban Development planner Bradd Schmeichel said in a press release.

The program is funded through the City of Lincoln Emergency Solutions Grants Program and is part of the Coordinated Entry System, the city’s approach to organize and provide housing services for those experiencing homelessness.

“The idea is to avoid their homelessness, to keep them out of a shelter stay because once a family or an individual gets into a shelter, it’s just a downhill spiral,” Matt Talbot executive director Susanne Blue said.

Homelessness in Lincoln has decreased 54 percent over the last five years according to the 2018 Point in Time Count, a yearly one-day survey that attempts to quantify the number of people who experience homelessness in a given community.

“With our current programs and commitment to defeating homelessness in Lincoln, we are excited to lead this effort and create a successful diversion program to serve those in Lincoln at risk for entering the homeless service system,” Blue said in the press release.