Gralapp, S., McKinsey, E., Pruitt, A. S., Busse, P., & Barile, J. P.
Society for Community Research and Action Biennial Conference, Chicago, IL, - June 26-29, 2019
Publication year: 2019

To be effective, programs need to be adapted to meet unique community contexts and interacting needs. Although this flexibility is important to program success, adaptations can also result in unique challenges and can threaten program fidelity. This presentation will focus on challenges and successes associated with adapting the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program to address homelessness in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. LEAD is a community- based, pre- booking diversion program in which law enforcement officers connect low- level, non- violent offenders or individuals at high- risk of arrest with social service providers in lieu of arrest (About LEAD, n.d.). While “LEAD- HI” initially was a response to the State of Hawai‘i’s need to address high recidivism rates and overcrowded correctional facilities, the program quickly adapted to respond to the overlapping issue of homelessness. Indeed, homelessness and incarceration are related social issues as chronic homelessness can be both a cause and consequence of incarceration (Fischer, Shinn, Strout, & Tsemberis, 2008; Greenberg & Rosenheck 2008). In Hawai‘i, an estimated 30% of the jail and prison population have ‘no fixed address’ (Thornton, Koshiba, & Lee- Ibarra, 2017). At referral, the large majority of LEAD- HI participants were currently experiencing homelessness (91%) and reported needing housing (88%). Therefore, while LEAD is not technically a housing program, LEAD- HI has adapted to address the demands of the community, which is overwhelmingly the need for housing. This presentation will discuss the challenges and successes associated with adapting a non- housing related program to address a community’s homelessness issue. Because community needs are not discrete, understanding program adaptations to address overlapping needs is important for community intervention research.