Orange County Homelessness
My office has taken steps to work with Orange County residents, businesses, nonprofits, and city and county appointees to help address our issue of homelessness with a responsible and multifaceted approach.
As a mother, teacher, former mayor, and concerned resident, I understand there are many roadblocks to providing housing for the county’s growing population of chronically homeless people. With that in mind, I want to take a holistic approach and examine different ways to help the community. There is no one simple answer to address such a complex problem. Therefore, I am exploring a strategic plan to address the homeless housing shortage.
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EXPLORING SOLUTIONS IN A VARIETY OF WAYS
In further efforts to bring state funds back to the people of Orange County, my office secured $5 million from the 2018-19 State Budget’s Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund to assist persons experiencing homelessness. The funds will be used to expand bed and support services for the homeless at the Bridges at Kraemer Place emergency shelter in Orange County.
With these funds, the Bridges at Kraemer Place will serve hundreds of men, women and children of north Orange County. Supporting a proven successful shelter, already in operation, is the logical first approach to confront the complicated issue of homelessness. Bridges at Kraemer Place in Anaheim has added services to help transition transients into more stable, long-term housing.
It provides more than an emergency shelter. Homeless people have to be referred and screened for outstanding warrantsto get into Kraemer’s 24-hour shelter. Sex offenders are not allowed. Public safety is paramount.
There needs to be beds for people in responsible shelters, such as Kraemer Place. Supporting these shelters with a proven success rate will ease the burden put on emergency shelters and our neighborhood streets in times of crisis.
The funding of an existing shelter is just one of the steps that need be taken to help address the homelessness crisis in Orange County. We should take a regional approach by establishing a collaborative agency for support and communication. This agency is to consist of Orange County cities, the County of Orange, local businesses and philanthropists, to come up with sites and funding for permanent supportive housing units. That is why I have joined my fellow Assemblymember Tom Daly in authoring legislation (Assembly Bill 448) to establish an agency consisting of these local, concerned entities. This agency would provide construction of supportive housing units.
We must build on a relationship of trust within our community, and demonstrate this is a sound solution by utilizing state and local resources. The priority is public safety and helping the less fortunate get back on their feet. Housing that is not temporary, like a shelter, coupled with support programs is just another proven way to confront homelessness. We must continue to examine different approaches to improving our communities in Orange County.
As a community, the most detrimental thing we can do amid this crisis is cease communication. This is why I have focused a great deal of my attention on thoughtful and necessary mediation between state and local officials. That is why I urged the governor to extend the National Guard Armory Shelter Program in Orange County.
As long as these emergency shelters remain necessary contingencies, I will continue to work between the state’s officials and our community leaders to ensure we are doing what we can for relief. It is not the time to turn our backs on some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Many cities continue to come together to find suitable locations for alternative shelters. Due to this unprecedented influx of additional homeless, it is crucial that emergency shelters continue to be open. It is just another reasonable and humane step to help homeless individuals and gives government officials more time to develop long-term solutions. Solving the homeless crisis will take cooperative actions at every level.
By LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 15, 2018
By NICK GERDA AND THY VO, June 13, 2018
By GREG LEE, May 28, 2018
By THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD, April 10, 2018