Supervisor Foley attended the March 15, 2022, Veterans Housing Summit hosted by the Housing Working Group of Veterans at the UCI School for Extended Education. Supervisor Foley announced her ongoing efforts to connect Veterans, active duty and reserve service members, and military family members to innovative mental health services, including Be Well, expanded housing resources like Project Homekey, rental units accepting vouchers, and enhanced workforce development programs in conjunction with the County. Presenting a detailed action plan, Supervisor Foley’s current initiatives emphasize a solution-oriented approach and total transparency about the effectiveness of housing vouchers, along with the need to better incentivize landlords to accept and rent to Veterans. Increasing the supply of units and creating a more flexible voucher value system is imperative, given the rising costs of housing in Orange County.
“Upon joining the Board of Supervisors in 2021, my office launched a first-of-its-kind survey of the chronically homeless to determine what’s working and maximize the best use of our funding. We inventoried $1.8 billion in resources addressing mental health, addiction, and housing matters that impact Veterans and Orange County residents. Despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, we successfully added 187 permanent supportive housing units since 2019, but only reduced the number of unhoused veterans from 311 to 290,” said Supervisor Foley. “The inability for Veterans with housing vouchers to find landlords that accept them contributes to homelessness,” she added.
“Housing is not the only issue facing Veterans, which is why our office distributed grocery gift cards to vulnerable Veterans and funding to local nonprofits that provide nutrition services. Adequate professional mental health and addiction treatment continue to challenge Orange County public health officials.” said Supervisor Foley, “It’s personal to me, because I’ve watched family members who served struggle. By expanding our mental health services through Be Well and initiating our Veterans suicide prevention program through the County’s expanded Suicide Prevention Program, Veterans know that we care about them every step of the way,” shared Supervisor Foley.