What we do.
The Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative, an Atlanta-based 501c3, works to reduce arrest and incarceration of people experiencing extreme poverty, problematic substance use, or mental health concerns, and increase the accessibility of supportive services in Atlanta and Fulton County.
PAD fosters a new approach to community safety and wellness by providing an alternative to punishing people for what they do to survive. Instead, we connect with people as people, address their basic needs, and work with them to reduce harm to themselves and their neighbors. We believe communities are safer and healthier when people have what they need to not only survive, but to thrive.
How we do it.
In-Person, Non-Police Response
PAD accepts community referrals through the City of Atlanta 311 non-emergency city services line for concerns related to unmet mental health needs, substance use, or extreme poverty. After a referral is made, a two-person PAD Harm Reduction Team travels to the area to engage the referred individual and assess what their needs are – whether that’s a warm meal, clean clothes or transportation to a shelter.
Diversion from the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Jails
We provide Atlanta Police Department, MARTA, and Georgia Tech police officers with the ability to divert to PAD when an individual is detained for law violations related to mental health, substance use, and extreme poverty.
Connecting People in Need to Basic Resources
For people diverted from arrest and incarceration, PAD provides Care Navigation and supportive services including respite shelter, food and transportation assistance, legal navigation and family reconnection. Case management is provided for as long as the individual requires support.
Advocating for Change
PAD advocates for policies that increase access to housing and support services, and that reduce the criminalization of poverty, marginalization and behavioral health concerns.