IRVINE, Calif. – November 15, 2018 – Federal and local housing leaders, including Neal Rackleff, Assistant Secretary, Planning and Development at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Chairman Andrew Do, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Susan B. Parks, CEO, Orange County United Way, as well as 30 community and business leaders came together today to announce Orange County’s first-ever landlord incentive program designed to help house chronically homeless individuals.
This program is part of a broader effort by public, private, faith-based and other groups to collaborate under the United to End Homelessness initiative, which enhances the County’s effort of building a system of care to address homelessness in Orange County.
“Chronically homeless individuals in Orange County, including too many of our decorated veterans and those suffering from serious disabilities, are in desperate need of supportive housing,” said Parks. “This program will enable United to End Homelessness to expand its rental pilot effort underway to get them off the streets into private apartment units with supportive services. Private landlords in Orange County play an important role in this effort, and we encourage them to join us in creating actionable solutions to address our unprecedented homelessness crisis.”
Landlord Incentive Program: Making Housing a Reality
The County’s new landlord incentive program will remove financial barriers – from leasing expenses, holding fees, application expense reimbursement, damage claims assistance, security deposits and more – for landlords who make units available to rent to homeless individuals in the County’s housing programs. The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved $250,000 to fund United to End Homelessness’ rental pilot effort, which will build upon the initiative’s partnership with Schroeder Management Company. The program will provide 40 to 55 housing placements over the next year through the pilot.
“We are creating new opportunities to get roofs over people’s heads quickly and effectively,” said Andrew Do, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “This program delivers more housing options to Orange County’s homeless. People are more likely to take actions to improve their situation and stay self-sufficient when they have a place to call home.”
One major goal of the landlord incentive program is to overcome barriers in both housing stock availability and affordability. It is the hope of the County of Orange that this initial $250,000 donation will encourage the private sector and other donors to contribute as well.
This comes on the heels of action taken by the Orange County Board of Supervisors that allocated an additional $70 million in Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding for permanent supportive housing and gave the green light to three new housing projects in Central Orange County.
Programs That Work: Potter’s Lane and The Orchard
Federal and local leaders, along with United to End Homelessness, toured Orange County housing communities that formerly homeless individuals now call home while receiving supportive care: Potter’s Lane in Midway City and The Orchard in Santa Ana.
Potter’s Lane, constructed from recycled shipping containers, consists of 16 living spaces operated by American Family Housing. The project focuses on serving veterans who have suffered from homelessness. Support services are provided on-site.
The Orchard is the result of a successful motel conversion, and is comprised of 71 furnished studio and one-bedroom units serving chronically homeless individuals and small families. On-site support services are offered along with case management.
Both innovative projects serve as models of what can be accomplished through community collaboration and broad partnerships. A 2017 University of California, Irvine study revealed that annual per person costs to service chronically homeless individuals exceeded $100,000. The study also showed that placing these individuals in supporting housing units – either existing apartments or newly developed facilities – would slice those costs in half. Permanent supportive housing generates more positive outcomes for those experiencing homelessness by creating an environment that fosters self-sufficiency.
United to End Homelessness: A Joint Effort for All of Orange County
Programs like the new landlord incentive program are made possible by the collaboration between government, philanthropic, business, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations. The collaboration orchestrated by United to End Homelessness is crucial to building Orange County’s system of care and reaching its goal of facilitating 2,700 new permanent supportive housing units.