The results of the biennial Orange County Point in Time count are in. It was a groundbreaking effort by the County of Orange, CityNet, 211 OC, as well as service providers, law enforcement and more than 1,000 volunteers, including many from Orange County United Way, using a sophisticated electronic mapping system. The newly released data gives us a clearer picture and a significantly better handle than ever on how many of our neighbors are homeless and where they are.
The count revealed that there are currently 6,860 people experiencing homelessness in Orange County. Of those, 2,899 were in an emergency or transitional shelter and 3,961 were unsheltered.
Per category, the data breaks down like this:
- 311 veterans
- 271 transitional aged youth
- 677 seniors
- 466 families, comprised of 584 adults and 966 children
The results also show that in the last two years there has been an increase of 1,390 emergency shelter beds into our system, and while this is good news, we must remember that people need places to go after shelter so their homelessness can end – for good.
This is why Orange County United Way brought local leaders and advocates together last year to form United to End Homelessness so that we, as a community, can work together to enact long-term, proven solutions.
The count data shows that 52% of the unsheltered population are chronically homeless which reinforces the urgency and need for more permanent supportive housing in our community.
Our United to End Homelessness Initiative will continue to help educate the community and build support for ending homelessness in Orange County. We will expand the Welcome Home OC program for apartment owners to make rental units available to people experiencing homelessness. This program is a joint effort between Orange County United Way, the County of Orange, private philanthropists and rental property owners to reduce the time involved in the search for housing by increasing the availability of rental units.
Now that we know how many of our neighbors are suffering from homelessness, it’s time to shift into high gear in our collective effort to end homelessness in Orange County.
Orange County United Way is committed to ending chronic homelessness in Orange County. Through United to End Homelessness and several housing initiatives, United Way remains focused on providing homeless prevention services and stable housing solutions for families with young children. United Way also launched a FACE 2024 2.0 goal to reduce the number of homeless families to functional zero in the next five years. This means that there will be services and housing available for every individual who may need them. It’s a lofty goal, but one we are committed to reaching – because everyone should have a place to call home.