FACES of Orange County

Ending Homelessness

Lawrence G. Haynes, Jr., Executive Director of Mercy House


Lawrence G. Haynes, Jr., Executive Director of Mercy House

Faith. A calling. Teamwork. Those are just a few descriptions of how Larry Haynes ended up at Mercy House, a nonprofit that provides services to the homeless in Orange County. Even the loss of a previous job helped direct his path. “I worked as a case manager at another agency for two years. I was fired for insubordination. At the time, I thought I was irreplaceable.” Yet, for the thousands Mercy House has sheltered since Haynes became Executive Director 26 years ago, that misstep was a blessing. When he first came on board they were housing 10 men and only had $25,000. The 51-year-old credits his education at Vanguard University. “I was trained to think, not simply memorize data. And that knowledge was not an end of itself, but that it must be used in service to humanity.” Haynes continues to work toward an ultimate goal: ending homelessness. While the field he selected is strenuous, he never doubts this is his calling. “There is no promise of happiness. The choice isn’t between choosing pleasure over pain, it is choosing meaning over madness. Faith to me is not a set of beliefs, as much as it is the engagement of one’s total being.”

Photograph by Jason Wallis Photography

P.O. Box 1905, Santa Ana | 714-836-7188 | mercyhouse.net