Homeless given one-way tickets out of San Diego

SAN DIEGO — You may soon notice less people living in the streets of San Diego thanks to a relatively new initiative.

The “Work Your Way Home Program,” has helped 117 people find their way back home.

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 9.09.19 PM“I’ve sent people as far as Delaware,” said Kelly Knight, homeless outreach coordinator for the program.

Under the Work Your Way Home program, a person living in the streets or a shelter signs a waiver agreeing to accept a one-way ticket home, where a family member or friend agrees to take them in.

“I’ve connected people that have been out of touch with their families for 15 years,” said Knight.

The program, which is privately funded by businesses from the Downtown San Diego Partnership, has ran for about a year and members hope to continue the work.

“We know it works, we’re going to continue,” said Kris Michell, president and CEO for the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

Some have criticized the program, claiming it’s similar to those in other cities where the homeless population has been shipped out as unwanted merchandise.

“We’re not shipping people out, we’re reuniting them with their families, so we know there’s someone on the other end to receive them, they pick them up from the bus station, they’re dressed well, they go home with dignity,” said Michell.

The group says that out of the 117 homeless people they’ve helped over the course of a year, none of them have come back.