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Genesee County unveils new homeless specialty court

Some defendants blame COVID-19 on why they can’t show up in court
Some defendants blame COVID-19 on why they can’t show up in court(OYS)
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A new resource in the fight to eradicate homelessness in Genesee County was unveiled Monday.

The Center for Civil Justice announced the launch of the Flint Genesee Homeless Court Program. It’s designed to help remove barriers that keep people from securing housing.

“The shelters work with each guest on an individualized action plan to obtain the skills and support they need to access permanent housing,” said Essence Wilson, chairwoman of the Flint/Genesee Continuum of Care. “Those working on treatment-oriented diversionary activities are recognized for their hard work, transformation and overcoming hardships with a referral to the program.”

The program is a collaboration of many community partners, including the courts, law enforcement, shelters and service agencies.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said homeless individuals will be referred to the new specialty court on charges related to their personal situation, such as trespass, public consumption of alcohol or sleeping in a doorway.

"We can replace jail time and fines with participation in life skills or job training,” he said.

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