The “Clean Plates” program – a partnership between the City Treasurer’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office, the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office and the San Diego Homeless Court Steering Committee – offers relief to homeless individuals who face the financial hurdle of paying off parking tickets as they try to turn their lives around.
The new memorandum of understanding replaces a 2015 agreement that established the “Clean Plates” program. Changes include making the program accessible to more individuals by reducing the minimum qualification requirements for applicants wishing to partake.
“Reducing barriers for homeless individuals looking to get back on their feet is critical to ending the cycle of homelessness,” Faulconer said. “Combining this program with the Homeless Court will allow more folks to get rid of parking fines and on the road to a better life.”
The “Clean Plates” program will now follow the same calendar as Homeless Court, a monthly initiative to assist homeless individuals in resolving pending misdemeanors or other infractions. Homeless Court started at the Veterans Village of San Diego’s Stand Down Rally in 1988 and serves as a model for other cities across the nation.
“Expanding the Clean Plates program will help alleviate one of the financial burdens homeless individuals face as they take steps to get back on their feet,” said City Attorney Mara W. Elliott. "This collaboration between the City, County and Homeless Court is especially important as we work together to address homelessness in San Diego."
To be eligible for the program, individuals must submit all required information to the Public Defender’s Office prior to the deadline each month. The Public Defender will then submit all information to the City for review. Some of the requirements include:
• Parking citations issued by the City of San Diego;
• Individual has not previously participated in the program;
• Participant is a client of an official Homeless Court Program Service Provider and has completed or substantially completed a recovery program;
• City Attorney and District Attorney have not otherwise disqualified the participant from the Homeless Court Program.
“Strengthening this important collaboration between the City, the County and the Homeless Court will no doubt help our homeless clients realize independence and self-sufficiency,” said Public Defender Randy Mize. “With ‘Clean Plates’ actually coming to Homeless Court to help participants resolve cases and eliminate steep fines, those significant burdens are lifted giving participants a greater ability to get back on the road to stability.”
To date, the program has already helped 63 individuals with 542 parking tickets. The first Homeless Court to hear cases for the “Clean Plates” program under the new agreement is set for September.
For more information about program, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 619-717-6101, or visit www.homelesscourtprogram.org.