Community Outreach Court

Mission Statement

To offer individuals who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness the opportunity to resolve civil and criminal infractions, unpaid fees and fines and bench warrants by crediting specific actions taken to address the root causes of their homelessness and criminal history.  The Grand Traverse Community Outreach Court recognizes that everyone in our community benefits when there are viable options available to overcome barriers to housing and employment, such as cumulative court fees.

About the Program

In 2017, the Court implemented this program to provide a pathway out of court debt to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.  The program operates under the authority and discretion of the 86th District Court, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, Grand Traverse Sheriff's Department and the Traverse City Police Department, in consultation with members of the defense bar, social services providers and members of the community who have experienced homelessness.

It is designed to serve people who, once they have entered the program, demonstrate sincere and sustained efforts to end or reduce their risk of homelessness by completing an individualized action plan to address the root causes of their homelessness and criminal history.


  • People who have experienced, are experiencing, or are at risk of homelessness
  • People who have outstanding fees, fines or bench warrants in the 86th District Court
  •  People willing to work closely with a social service provider for 6-18 months. For example, a participant may elect to seek voluntary treatment at Northern Lakes Community Mental Health or Addiction Treatment Services.  Actual program length varies by participant.

Benefits for Participants

Possible relief from the program varies based on the individual's circumstances.  It may include: setting aside default judgments, dismissal of unadjudicated cases, discharge from probation, closure of adjudicated cases, waiver of court costs within the court's authority and dismissal of bench warrants.

Restitution to crime victims is not eligible for forgiveness under this program.


This program meets every other month to review applications, admit new applicants and evaluate the progress of current participants.  Public hearings are held every other month at Safe Harbor homelessness shelter at 517 Wellington Street, Traverse City, MI.


To learn more about the program, please contact Carol Stocking @