- 150 Property Providers Across Orange County in the Program Network
Orange County, Calif. (January 23, 2024) – United to End Homelessness℠, an initiative of Orange County United Way, announced that it has housed 1,000 individuals through its WelcomeHomeOC℠ housing navigation and landlord incentive program. The program marks this milestone to start the new year as it continues to actively match individuals and families experiencing homelessness with property providers throughout the county.
The WelcomeHomeOC program is a joint effort among the United to End Homelessness initiative, Orange County United Way, Public Housing Authorities, service providers, and rental providers to reduce the time involved to find housing by increasing the availability of rental units. The program has developed a network of service providers who supply tenant support services to ensure long term housing retention. WelcomeHomeOC is endorsed by the Apartment Association of Orange County (AAOC) and the California Apartment Association (CAA).
“We know that housing solves homelessness and that people need to be supported to regain access to housing, which is why we created WelcomeHomeOC,” said Becks Heyhoe, Executive Director of United to End Homelessness, Orange County United Way. “By creating a program that pairs property owners with housing voucher holders — and supports both throughout the process — we have successfully placed 1,000 people into their new homes. We mark this milestone with a renewed commitment to achieving our goal of ending homelessness in Orange County.”
WelcomeHomeOC is a nationally recognized program that launched in 2019 to help individuals, veterans, and families experiencing homelessness with housing vouchers to secure housing in private market apartments, reducing barriers and risk for both tenants and landlords. The program streamlines the process for apartment owners, providing incentives and support to property owners and managers, including funding for security deposits, unit holding costs, furnishings, and access to a damage mitigation fund. The program also ensures 12 months of case management and support services are provided for newly housed clients.
“WelcomeHomeOC solves so many of the challenges property owners and managers can face, with solutions such as financial assurances that cover downtime during the application process to mitigate the vacancy rate you often experience when seeking new tenants.” said Steven Gallian, property manager at QIP Management, a WelcomeHomeOC property provider. “The people we have met through WelcomeHomeOC have been some of our best tenants and those who extend their leases swiftly.”
Of the 1,000 individuals housed, WelcomeHomeOC has served 242 veterans, 103 former foster youth, 138 seniors and 97 families with minor children.
“WelcomeHomeOC is a great program; there is nothing like it,” said Brian, a former foster youth who was connected to the program team that facilitated his move-in last year by locating a unit that met his needs and preferences, providing the security deposit and other move-in costs, and working directly with the property owner and housing authority to ensure a successful lease-up. “They truly fought above and beyond to make what seemed impossible happen. The people are here to help you and they truly care. It is nice to know you have someone on your side when you need it.”
The program is bolstered by the support of elected officials who are committed to the cause of ending homelessness.
“The need is great for our Orange County community to help solve the housing emergency for those experiencing homelessness,” said Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana). “I am proud to have secured $4.9 million in state funding to increase the positive momentum behind proven programs like WelcomeHomeOC to provide housing for county residents in need.”
“Ensuring our community is equipped with the funding and resources needed to help everyone in Orange County have a safe and stable place to call home is critical,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine). “I’m proud to have secured $2.9 million in state budget funding for WelcomeHomeOC and will continue to champion this cause for residents experiencing homelessness in our community.”
“Solving the housing crisis requires collaboration. I remain grateful to our community for housing and empowering 1,000 residents,” said Katrina Foley, Fifth District Supervisor and Chair of the Orange County Housing Finance Trust. “We must maintain our progress by supporting innovative and forward-thinking programs like WelcomeHomeOC as we strive to end homelessness in Orange County.”
WelcomeHomeOC’s Property Provider Network is a committed group of property managers, owners, and developers who have opened their doors to voucher holders experiencing homelessness with the goal of ending homelessness in Orange County, one lease at a time.
“We take great pride in the fact that WelcomeHomeOC has successfully provided housing for over 284 individuals from our Santa Ana Housing Authority. Reaching the milestone of 1,000 individuals across Orange County finding housing through this innovative program, we recognize its immense value in creating housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness,” said Judson Brown, Housing Division Manager for the City of Santa Ana and Chair of the Continuum of Care Housing Opportunities Committee. “Beyond each of these 1,000 individuals lies a household, and behind every household stands a secure home in the private market, made possible by WelcomeHomeOC.”
To submit or refer residential rental units to the program, visit unitedtoendhomelessness.org/urgent-need-to-find-rentals or text (949) 669-4435.
For more information about United to End Homelessness, visit unitedtoendhomelessness.org.
ABOUT UNITED TO END HOMELESSNESS
Launched in February 2018, United to End Homelessness is led by a diverse group of leaders from Orange County’s top business, philanthropic, governmental, faith-based and nonprofit organizations – all committed to ending homelessness in our community. Our work is grounded in bringing the recommendations of the 2017 UC Irvine study “Homelessness in Orange County: The Costs to Our Community” to life, with Orange County United Way serving as the backbone of this new collaborative effort. Together, we are working to bring the issue of homelessness to the forefront of the community’s collective discussion and create civic engagement that will lead to meaningful and lasting results. Together we can and we will #EndHomelessnessOC. For more information, please visit unitedtoendhomelessness.org.
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Media Contact: Heidi Pallares, firstname.lastname@example.org, (949) 285-7278