Supervisor Katrina Foley commented on the recently released Grand Jury Report titled “How is Orange County Addressing Homelessness,” after reviewing the investigation and analysis.
The official Grand Jury report cites testimony from Supervisor Foley’s hearing on Homelessness on April 20, 2022 (page 11) and data from the Homeless Services Assessment commissioned and funded by Supervisor Foley’s office (page 12).
“The Grand Jury report confirms what we found at our investigative hearings and in our field surveys, audits, and through our internal homelessness advisory team,” said Supervisor Foley. “There is an immediate need for consistent case management and enforcement programs with consistent County support and data tracking. As noted by the report, funding is available, but there is a lack of true collaboration with many cities, which has resulted in cities incurring the cost of addressing this issue or not addressing at all.”
One significant model the report did not include was the opening of a navigation and homeless shelter operated by the City of Costa Mesa, in partnership with City of Newport Beach, that Supervisor Foley led the effort on while serving as Mayor of Costa Mesa.
“The shelter and intentional housing case management system is a model that works, with Costa Mesa reporting 265 residents permanently housed since the shelter opened, and 65 more with housing plans pending. As the Grand Jury report shows, the funding is available. The County should direct funding to these types of programs and not require the Cities to bear the burden,” said Supervisor Foley.
“We must invest in youth housing and Veterans permanent supportive housing, which Project Homekey helps to facilitate,” added Foley. “By offering landlord incentives and flexible funds, our voucher system will also help many who are homeless like our Veterans and youth.”
The report requires that the Board of Supervisors officially reply to the findings and recommendations within 90 days.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to offer input and add additional relevant information for the benefit of the Grand Jury, the public, and all of those who are working to address homelessness in Orange County.”
In 2021, Supervisor Foley commissioned a first-of-its-kind survey of the chronically homeless to determine the best use of County funds and to help the unhoused become productive members of our community. This was followed by the development of “Project Homekey in a box,’ which provides County technical resources for cities to convert dilapidated motels into permanent supportive housing with 24-hour wraparound services. This program resulted in motel conversions in Stanton and new approved conversions in Buena Park, Costa Mesa, and Huntington Beach. Supervisor Foley continues to be an advocate for the type of recommendations contained in the report, which includes support for Senate Bill 1338 by Senator Umberg to establish CARE Courts, which intends to create a civil legal path to support those who are severely incapacitated as a result of substance abuse off the streets and into care, not jail or prison.