Homelessness in O.C.: The Four Shelter Types

Finding a place to stay or live means navigating a still-complicated system.
Orange Coast Magazine - 03/21/2017

1Emergency
The primary purpose is to provide temporary, safe, and clean shelter, often one night at a time. There typically are fewer preconditions to gain entry than to other types of shelter. Support services might be available at the
same location.

→1,600 Beds available countywide, some seasonal

→$4,819 National average cost per family per month

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→4 months Average length of stay per family

→$16,829 Cost per family per average stay

2Transitional or Interim
Temporary housing, generally for one to 24 months, is combined with support services (job training, GED classes). Each facility has specific rules, such as requiring that residents have jobs. If residents wish to stay, they must participate
in services.

→1,400 Beds available countywide

→$2,706 National average cost per family per month

→13 months Average length of stay per family

→$32,557 Cost per family per average stay

3 Rapid Rehousing
A newer model of temporary housing, it shows great promise. Individuals are moved immediately into housing, without having to participate in services, though they are available.

→734 Beds available countywide

→$878 National average cost per family per month

→7 months Average length of time per family

→$6,578  Total cost per family per average stay

4 Permanent Supportive

Offers housing and services for those with disabilities who are considered chronically homeless, meaning they have been homeless for a year or experienced four bouts of homelessness in three years.

→2,348 Beds available county-wide in this category

→$439,787 Estimated highest costs a single homeless person can incur in O.C. per year for services, hospital, health care, and safety issues

→$55,332 Estimated highest cost if that same person is in permanent supportive housing

The First County Government Year‑Round Emergency Shelter
The new Orange County Year Round Emergency Shelter and Multi-Service Center in Anaheim is scheduled to open this month and will be staffed seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It houses 100; when it is fully operational later this year, it will have places for 200, with an emphasis on single adults. The county estimates that about 70 percent of the emergency shelter beds have been reserved for families or single and pregnant women. (The 400-bed Courtyard emergency shelter in Santa Ana is also funded by the county, but is temporary right now.)

The Board of Supervisors awarded the service contract for the new shelter to Mercy House, a leading nonprofit organization that provides homeless services. Mercy House’s executive director Larry Haynes says other organizations will provide “intensive services” to shelter residents so they don’t end up back on the streets. Unlike other emergency shelters, this one will house men and women for between 60 and 90 days, and people cannot walk up and gain entry—they must make a reservation.

“If I could communicate only one thought, it would be that the point of the year-round shelter is to provide a bridge for people while we place them into permanent housing,” Haynes says. “And so I think it’s got the potential to have a dramatic impact.”

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