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‘She Literally Saved My Life’

An encounter with a LEAD caseworker took Joey Nash off the streets of Seattle and on track to a better life. It's a program meant to divert people in crisis to help, not incarceration.

For Joey Nash, life on the streets was “an everyday struggle.” Then he met Kimberly Harrell, a case manager with LEAD, Seattle’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program.

“She literally saved my life.”

The program’s mission is simple: Secure housing and employment assistance for those in crisis, rather than incarcerating them. Caseworkers and law enforcement work together to reduce police contact and law violations for those dealing with behavioral health conditions or extreme poverty.

Arnold Ventures-funded studies evaluating the effectiveness of the program in Seattle have found participants are twice as likely to have permanent housing as those who do not receive assistance, and that those diverted to LEAD were far less likely to be rearrested.

This is Joey’s story.