The Serial Inebriate Program (SIP) was created 16 years ago as a new and forward thinking pilot program for the City of San Diego. Its purpose has always been to help the population of homeless who are so often incapable of finding help for themselves—chronic homeless individuals who are serial inebriates. This report provides a snapshot of the progress SIP has made with the target population in conjunction with an analysis of its economic benefits.
To accomplish these goals, political science students partnered with the City of San Diego and the Sage Project at San Diego State University to prepare an objective analysis of the program. Data was gathered from the San Diego Police Department, Mental Health Systems, and other agencies in order to present a snapshot of the effectiveness and efficiency of SIP. All comparisons were made between what SIP offers, in terms of treatments and costs, to the alternative of letting the target population continue without assistance. At the end of the project, we found evidence that SIP has been effective in reducing the number of homeless individuals who suffer from serial inebriation and also offers substantial cost savings to local governments.
The apparent effectiveness and efficiency of SIP prompted us to recommend an expansion of this model to other homeless populations. In addition, we recommend ways to make SIP more effective at its own goals. In short, we recommend that SIP expand its eligibility classifications, aim for better communication among and between agencies, and create an avenue for post-treatment tracking of those who complete the program. As a part of the cost-benefit analysis, we also recommend that a separate report be completed singularly on the costs and benefits of SIP. Without the concerted effort of all those involved, this report would not have been possible. For that, we are grateful and hope this report shows the progress and impact that the Serial Inebriate Program has and will continue to have in San Diego.
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