By Steve Churm, EVP Public Affairs, FivePoint Holdings LLC / Lawrence R. Armstrong, CEO, Ware Malcomb
Homelessness in Orange County has grown by nearly 50% in the past five years to reach what many agree are crisis proportions.
The debate as to the reason for the spike has been vigorous and so has the finger-pointing over solutions. But what’s conspicuously missing from the rancorous public dialogue is this: Homeless individuals are here (many are longtime OC residents), and they’re not going anywhere.
Along with the human costs of this crisis, as a community, we are spending a tremendous amount of public and private resources to maintain the status quo. How much?
A 2017 study by the University of California-Irvine revealed that per-person annual costs to service chronically homeless individuals – our most vulnerable population – exceeded $100,000.
That same study showed that placing those individuals in supportive housing units – either existing apartments or newly developed facilities – would slice those costs in half.
In total, Orange County would save more than$42 million annually.
Those are funds that can be reallocated to other important public safety needs while at the same time change the lives of those who have lost hope on the streets.