In a notable milestone for Orange County, Senator Tom Umberg championed and secured $4.9 million to fund local homelessness efforts. Governor Gavin Newsom approved the one-time funding as part of the 2022-2023 California State Budget.
“The need is great for our Orange County community to help solve the housing emergency for our most vulnerable residents experiencing homelessness,” said Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana). “I am committed to increasing the positive momentum behind proven programs by working with Orange County United Way and the many collaborative partners, so that together we can put these funds into action and help provide housing for all Orange County residents.”
Senator Umberg lobbied for these critically needed dollars and successfully secured direct funding for Orange County United Way’s United to End Homelessness initiative. The funds will support two of the initiative’s programs dedicated to ending homelessness in Orange County, WelcomeHomeOC and the Housing Champions Advocacy Network. The senator has prioritized solving homelessness during his time in the senate, notably authoring Senate Bill 450 to streamline the process of converting motels into supportive and transitional housing throughout the state.
“We are grateful to Senator Tom Umberg for his resolve and commitment to securing this funding to help end homelessness in Orange County,” said Susan B. Parks, President and CEO of Orange County United Way. “These funds will not only bolster United to End Homelessness’ efforts to house formerly homeless people through the WelcomeHomeOC program which has housed more than 720 people to date, but also expand the ability of the Housing Champions Advocacy Network to positively impact affordable and permanent supportive housing efforts across the county.”
WelcomeHomeOC is a partnership with the County of Orange, Orange County Housing Authority, Apartment Association of Orange County, individual property owners and the service provider community. This ground-breaking program places homeless individuals with rental assistance vouchers referred through the Orange County Coordinated Entry System into private apartments throughout Orange County. The program provides incentives and support to property owners and managers, including funding for security deposits, holding fees, and access to a damage mitigation fund.
Housing Champions Advocacy Network is a network of local community-based volunteers who advocate for affordable and permanent supportive housing in cities throughout Orange County. These individuals proactively engage with their elected and appointed leaders to ensure that every community is doing its best to develop more affordable and permanent supportive housing for all. Housing Champions live, work, worship, send their children to school, and shop in the communities in which they advocate for housing solutions for homelessness. They provide a consistent, clear, positive voice and support for local elected officials to make courageous decisions greenlighting more of these developments in their communities.