The County and City of San Diego will receive $6 million to provide substance abuse and mental health services to hundreds of people cited or charged with misdemeanor drug and property crimes across the region.

The Board of State and Community Corrections voted Thursday to award the grant to the County and City, after ranking their joint proposal first among dozens of entries.

Approved by voters in Nov. 2014, Proposition 47 changed certain drug and property offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Another key provision required the state to redirect savings from a reduced prison population to this grant program, to help those cited or arrested for certain misdemeanors. This is the first time grants have been distributed as part of the proposition.

Without the grant, these services might not be possible. With it, those arrested and struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues have a better chance at success in their communities. The ultimate aim is to reduce crime.

“With this grant, we’re aiming to further improve public safety and help those who have been on the wrong side of the law become healthy, productive members of the community,” said Dianne Jacob, chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

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