Program Now Counts 132 Property Providers Across Orange County in the Network
Orange County, Calif. (June 30, 2023) – United to End Homelessness℠, an initiative of Orange County United Way, announced today that it has housed 900 individuals through its WelcomeHomeOC program in under five years. The program marks this milestone as it continues to actively match individuals and families experiencing homelessness with property providers throughout the county.
The program is a joint effort between the United to End Homelessness℠ initiative, Orange County United Way, Public Housing Authorities, service providers, and rental providers to reduce the time involved in the search for housing by increasing the availability of rental units. The program is endorsed by the Apartment Association of Orange County (AAOC) and the California Apartment Association (CAA).
“When we developed and launched WelcomeHomeOC nearly five years ago, we knew it could make a lasting impact for individuals and families seeking stable housing and a place to call home,” said Becks Heyhoe, Executive Director of United to End Homelessness. “While we celebrate this important milestone of successfully placing 900 people into their new homes, we acknowledge there is still much work to be done to achieve our goal of ending homelessness in Orange County.”
WelcomeHomeOC is an innovative housing navigation and landlord incentive program that launched in 2019 to help individuals, veterans, and families experiencing homelessness who have 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 and provides 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 supportive services for our newly housed clients.
Among the 900 individuals served to date by WelcomeHomeOC are 211 veterans, 84 former foster youth, and 148 older adults experiencing homelessness.
“Finding housing was a challenge because it was a lot of paperwork, but United Way was very helpful and understanding,” said Amayrani, a former foster youth and WelcomeHomeOC housing beneficiary. “Whenever I had a question, they were always there to help. Having a home makes me feel peaceful and safe because now I know my sons and I never have to be homeless again.”
Recognized for its solution-oriented process for both property providers and voucher holders, WelcomeHomeOC has benefited from the support of state leaders including Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris and Senator Tom Umberg who have each helped to secure funding from the state budget for housing efforts.
“I am so proud to have had even a small role in this incredible achievement by United to End Homelessness,” said Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana). “I am committed to maintaining the positive momentum behind this and other proven Orange County United Way Programs that help improve lives. Everyone deserves a safe place to rest their head at night. Together, we are working to make Orange County a better place for all.”
“No man or woman who bravely served our nation should be without a roof over his or her head. This crisis is shameful and it’s our shared responsibility to solve it,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), who secured $2.9 million in 2019 to fund housing for nearly 200 Orange County Veterans experiencing homelessness. “I am steadfastly committed to working with Orange County United Way and our collaborative partners to get every Veteran into housing as soon as possible.”
WelcomeHomeOC’s Property Provider Network is a committed group of property managers, owners, and developers who are opening their doors to voucher holders experiencing homelessness with the goal of ending homelessness in Orange County, one lease at a time.
“This program is a win-win for everyone involved. It provides sound business benefits to property owners while at the same time, a rewarding opportunity to better the community by helping end homelessness in Orange County,” said Ernie Schroeder, President Schroeder Investment Partners, Inc. and the first member to join the WelcomeHomeOC Property Provider Network. Ernie and his team have gone above and beyond by helping 133 individuals who were experiencing homelessness find permanent housing thanks to the apartment units he submitted to Orange County United Way’s WelcomeHomeOC housing navigation program.
“Ending homelessness in Orange County is a vital initiative, and an attainable one with the full support of our community,” said Lawrence R. Armstrong, Leadership Council Chair, United to End Homelessness and Chairman, Ware Malcomb. “We encourage people to learn more about United to End Homelessness and get involved, from submitting a rental unit for WelcomeHomeOC up to advocating for housing in their city of residence. We can all make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and help everyone find a place to call home.”
To submit or refer residential rental units to the program, visit https://unitedtoendhomelessness.org/urgent-need-to-find-rentals or text (949) 669-4435.
For more information about United to End Homelessness, visit https://www.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 www.unitedtoendhomelessness.org.
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Media Contact: Heidi Pallares, email@example.com, (949) 285-7278