On January 23, 2018, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved the formation of the newly restructured Commission to End Homelessness, representing a transition to a regional, systems-based approach to solving homelessness.
The Board approved a Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness in 2012, and the previously existing commission, community partners and governmental agencies have made several strides in the implementation of the plan’s goals.
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“While many of the core precepts of the original commission continue to apply, new challenges have emerged over the past eight years regarding homelessness in Orange County,” said Chairman Andrew Do, First District Supervisor. “The new Commission to End Homelessness will promote better integration of systems such as health care, criminal justice, affordable housing and homelessness prevention.”
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The previous commission will be dissolved effective January 31, 2018, followed by the formation of the new commission designed to better respond to current needs related to homelessness.
“The new Commission to End Homelessness will build upon the foundational work of the previously existing commission,” said Vice Chairman Shawn Nelson, Fourth District Supervisor. “The previous commission and its partners achieved a great deal, including nearly doubling the number of emergency shelter beds, expanding outreach and engagement, and beginning the process of implementing a new Homeless Management Information System.”
Nominations for voting members of the newly restructured Commission to End Homelessness will be gathered for submission to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. The new commission will include 17 voting members from various organizations including governments, nonprofits, businesses, health care, law enforcement, the faith-based community and the affordable housing development industry, in addition to two non-voting members appointed by the community-driven Continuum of Care Board.
“We need the support of the community—the County cannot end homelessness on its own,” said Supervisor Michelle Steel, Second District. “By including members of different community organizations, the new commission will be better equipped to identify innovative solutions for a broader approach to address homelessness.”
Once established, the new Commission to End Homelessness will work in collaboration with stakeholders across Orange County to focus on regional policy, strategies to implement solutions, affordable housing development, using data analysis, and best practice research to impact social policy and systemic change to promote an effective response to homelessness within the county. New bylaws for the commission mirror the recommendations from the County Director of Care Coordination Susan Price and the 2016 Assessment of Homeless Services in Orange County.
“The commission changes enhance and improve our core mission,” said Supervisor Todd Spitzer, Third District. “No one is walking away from our deep commitment to end homelessness in Orange County.”
The new Commission to End Homelessness will meet a minimum of six times per year, and each meeting will be open and public.
“We value the input and contributions of our many partners participating in the commission as well as members of the public interested in solving homelessness,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District.
“Homelessness is a complex issue and requires partnership among county and city governments, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, community members and businesses.”
For additional information on the County’s efforts to address homelessness, visit www.ocgov.com/homelessness.