Serving those who Served: Making a Difference in the Lives of Our Veterans
No veteran should be without a place to call home.
The brave men and women who served so selflessly and courageously to protect the freedoms and futures of all Americans have carried a heavy and honorable burden, and our country owes them for their service.
And yet an estimated 40,056 veterans are homeless across America on any given night, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
That number doesn’t include the 1.4 million veterans who are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
In Orange County, there is some encouraging information.
Since the establishment of United to End Homelessness, funding opportunities and groundbreaking programs for veteran homelessness have made significant progress, ensuring that every former serviceman and servicewoman in Orange County has a place to call home.
It’s the Marching Home to End Veteran Homelessness initiative – a multi-faced plan created under the direction of the Office of Care Coordination and OC Community Resources – that plans to end homelessness for all veterans living in Orange County by December 2020.
To achieve such an ambitious goal, the plan necessitates local, regional, and federal partners to collaborate and share resources, ideas and information.
United to End Homelessness plays a large role in this collaborative effort in providing housing and service for veterans experiencing homeless in Orange County. The 2019 Point in Time count identified a total of 311 veterans were still experiencing homelessness in Orange County, and out of that population, 68.2% were unsheltered while only 31.8% were in either an emergency or transitional shelter.
Currently, supportive housing units for 124 veterans are under construction in Placentia and Santa Ana.
We also have a program that can help provide housing to homeless veterans through privately owned apartments, but we need more landlords to rent to them.
Through our WelcomeHomeOC program, United to End Homelessness is proud to offer meaningful incentives to Orange County landlords who are open to participating in this partnership and housing solution.
WelcomeHomeOC promotes participation of private landlords and management companies across Orange County to make their units available to rent to homeless veterans with a housing voucher that will transition into permanent housing.
In return for participation from property owners, United to End Homelessness provides landlords with financial assistance including security deposits for rent and application fee payments, signing on bonuses and contingency funds to make minor repairs, unit holding fee payments and other incentives to overcome barriers to housing.
There still remains significant work to be done in ending veteran homelessness in Orange County for good.
Orange County has one of the most expensive rental markets in the nation. With vacancy rates at an all time low, we need our community partners to work with us to match veterans with housing units, ensuring more housing resources are available for homeless veterans.
It is critical that community partners and members continue to create and collaborate on building housing solutions, and programs like WelcomeHomeOC and the Marching Home to End Veterans Homelessness initiative will continue to reduce veteran homelessness in Orange County and reach our goal of eradicating it entirely.
If you are interested in learning more about WelcomeHomeOC or how you can help contribute to our campaign, please click here.