Community Matters: Homelessness in OC

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Main News Photo

The Greater Irvine Chamber connects you with nonprofit organizations that address issues facing the community and opportunities for you to make a difference. This month we focus on Homelessness.

Orange County’s businesses, philanthropic, governmental, faith-based and non-profit leaders are working together to alleviate the housing crisis in our communities.

According to the Point in Time Summary recently published by the County of Orange, 6,860 people in Orange County are without a home. Of those, 466 are families (totaling 584 adults and 966 children), 311 are veterans, 677 are seniors aged 62 and older, 271 are transitional aged youth (18-24), and 14 are unaccompanied youths aged 17 and younger. Also reported in the summary:

  • 2,899 were in an emergency or transitional shelter and 3,961 were unsheltered
  • For the 3,961 who were unsheltered:
    • 52% were chronically homeless
    • 73% had their last known address in Orange County
    • 72% worked or currently work in OC
    • 52% have family in OC

In a Cost Study conducted by Orange County United Way and the University of California, Irvine, findings indicate that Orange County’s homeless population is defined largely by the following characteristics:

  • They are mainly long-term Orange County residents, with 68% of the 252 homeless surveyed having lived in the county for 10 years or longer
  • They are predominately US-born individuals (90%)
  • A significant share are middle-aged (52% are age 50 or older), non-Hispanic White (47%), male (57%) and live alone (67%)

A key finding of the study indicates homelessness is caused primarily by lack of sufficient income or job loss combined with high costs of housing in Orange County. Other factors, like family dysfunction, health, and substance abuse, increase one’s vulnerability to homelessness in such a context.

Orange County’s city governments and public services bear the brunt of the costs associated with homelessness in Orange County. An estimated $299 million was spent to address homelessness in Orange County by governmental and non-governmental entities in a 12-month period in 2014/2015. Municipalities account for the largest share of this total at approximately $120 million, followed by hospitals (~$77 million), the County (~$62 million), non-governmental housing agencies (~$35 million), and other non-governmental agencies servicing the homeless (~$5 million).

Some of the organizations addressing Homelessness and service to help those who may be homeless in Orange County:

The City of Irvine and the Orange County United Way offer these respective volunteer engagement programs:

Category: Community News, Community Matters