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A Dialogue on Housing and Homelessness in Orange County

Housing And Homelessness In Orange County

“Now is your moment in time. It’s your opportunity to seize this moment and take it forward.” Anne Miskey.

On January 12, 2017, fifty leaders engaged in ending homelessness, gathered together at UCI’s Center for Applied Innovation for a “Meeting of the Minds” to take a fresh look at efforts to address the issue and develop a key set of actions for the upcoming year.

The session began with Scott Larson, Executive Director, HomeAid Orange County and Chair of the Commission to End Homelessness, reflecting on Orange County’s journey in addressing homelessness and celebrating recent wins, such as “The Courtyard” transitional center, an emergency shelter in Santa Ana.

Anne Miskey, current Executive Director, Downtown Women’s Center and former Chief Executive Officer of the national Funders Together to End Homelessness, facilitated the meeting. She guided the group through a process of identifying the community’ strengths and the barriers that impede success. Anne then went on to share inspiring stories of how various communities like Orlando, Florida and Houston, Texas, have come together to strategically tackle homelessness and have had major success.

The group split into four teams: Housing Options, Communication Strategy, Nontraditional Partnerships and Increasing Private and Public Resources. Each team was charged with creating clear action plans for their respective area to capitalize on current momentum and identify opportunities to collaborate in new and more intentional ways. The meeting ended on a very high note, with 90-Day Work Plans developed in each area to further community progress and a renewed commitment by the group to collaborate together to end homelessness in Orange County.

The momentum has been maintained and in March there was a reconvening for those interested in moving the top priority forward – developing a Communication Strategy. Almost thirty leaders gathered together to start paving the way forward for concise, coordinated communications around what homelessness looks like in Orange County, why it is more cost effective to end homelessness, what solutions are available and how we are going to implement them here.

As Anne said in January, this is our moment and the combination of the new data available from the Executive Summary of the OC Homelessness and Housing Cost Study and Report, combined with the soon to be released 2017 Point-In Time data means that we have never been in a better position before to truly #endHomelessnessOC!

Learn ways to get involved: unitedwayoc.org/get-involved

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