And we headed home. It wasn't the same (one) we once had, but at least it was a safer one.

My intuition tells me that I can remove it ... but to make sure, I searched for phrases like:

wasn't the same I on Google Books. And didn't find any similar results.

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    Is that a sentence you are writing yourself? Does "one" refer to "home"? The leap isn't obvious to me as a reader. If that is the meaning, I think you should repeat the word "home": It wasn't the same home we once had, but at least it was safer. – Jack O'Flaherty Jun 28 '20 at 12:12
  • I agree with Jack. The first sentence does nothing to emphasize "home", and so the omission of "one" in the second sentence might be a bit confusing the first time someone reads it. But if you use "home" in the second sentence, it makes the sentence much better in my opinion. Doing that brings the attention to "home". And I like the "one" at the end. – AIQ Jun 28 '20 at 15:53

You have to put 'one' after 'same' because same is an adjective and has to modify a noun. In this case, one is functioning as a relative pronoun relating back to the only noun mentioned in the previous sentence (i.e.: 'home').

You could change the 2nd sentence if you like to: "It wasn't the same as before, but at least it was safer." In this version, you would be referring to (the time when you lived in the previous home) and the function of same would be as an adverb allowing for the omission of 'one'. Or you could do as Jack O'Flaherty advised and write 'home' instead of 'one'. All are acceptable solutions.

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