“…these things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop ten points it is a tragedy! Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash.” – Pope Francis, General Audience on UN World Environment Day, June 2013
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36
Housing is a basic human right, along with food, work, education, health care, freedom of expression and religious freedom. When one lacks housing, the other basic human rights usually are marginalized to limit a person’s participation in the social, cultural and economic sectors of society. Yet each day over 600,000 Americans are homeless, with 36 percent being families. Thirty-eight percent have no shelter. Twenty-two percent of the homeless population lives in California.1 In Orange County almost 13,000 people lack adequate housing, due to economic challenges, mental illness, addictions, discrimination or lack of affordable housing.2 Three and one-half percent of Orange County school children are homeless, live in shelters, double up with other families, reside in motels or campgrounds.3 Shelters and transitional housing programs accommodate and attempt to meet the needs of the sizable homeless population, but thousands live each day without the security of a key to enter the front door of a dwelling to call home.
1The State of Homelessness in America 2013, National Alliance to End Homelessness
2Orange County Register, September 24, 2013
3Orange County Department of Education, 2011 Statistics
- Homelessness and Housing: A Human Tragedy, A Moral Challenge, USCCB 1988
- What Have You Done To Your Homeless Brother, Pontifical Commission “Justitia et Pax” on the Occasion of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, 1987
- The Right To A Decent Home: A Pastoral Response to the Crisis in Housing, USCCB 1975
- More Resources on Housing – Homelessness (USCCB)
- Help your parish make connections between your Food Pantry/Outreach Ministry and Advocacy to Address Housing Issues/Homelessness
- OC Housing and Community Development
- Commission to End Homelessness
- OC Homeless Services
- HomeAid Orange County
- OCCCO – Homeless Policy
- Isaiah House – Orange County Catholic Worker
- Grandma’s House of Hope
- Illumination Foundation
- Orange County Rescue Mission
- Mercy House
- Take the time to talk to and LISTEN to those in need
- Be sure you have a system in place at your parish to make referrals to the right agencies, given particular situations of individuals
- Consider how you can be more welcoming to the homeless in your community and how you can help get people off the streets
- Agencies by Deanery:
SANTA ANA MERCY HOUSE TRANSITIONAL LIVING Serves Orange County P.O. Box 1905 Santa Ana, CA 92702 (714) 836-7188 Operates 4 transitional living centers in Santa Ana. Joseph House serves single, employable men. Regina House serves single employable mothers and their children, ages 10 yrs and under; Emmanuel House serves single adults living with HIV or AIDS. Offers Bethany House which serves pregnant women over 18 yrs. Also offers rental assist, cold weather shelters (Fullerton and Santa Ana) during winter months. (714) 836-7188.
VETERANS FIRST Serves Orange County 1540 E. Edinger Avenue, Suite D Santa Ana, CA 92705 (714) 547-0615 Services provided exclusively to homeless and/or disabled veterans. Employment and education, counseling, job board, resume assist, computers, fax machine, 24-hr message center. Veteran benefits counseling, housing and legal referrals. WISE PLACE Serves Orange County 1411 N. Broadway Santa Ana, CA 92706 (714) 542-3577 One time, 6-month, 3-phase “steps to independence” program for single employed or immediately employable homeless women (no children). Must work full time or work part-time and go to school. Accepts homeless due to financial difficulties, women completing domestic violence or chemical dependency inpatient programs who are active in a 12-Step program. Group and case management meetings, psychological and employment counseling, chores and drug screens; no mental health or medical services on site. Single women ages 18 yrs+ with no children, clean and sober a minimum of 90 days. Fees $65 per week.
ORANGE CASA TERESA Serves Orange County 1660 W. Broadway Anaheim, CA 92802 (714) 538-4860 Provides a transformational, comprehensive program for homeless, pregnant women 18 yrs. of age and older who are alone. Casa Teresa offers three separate residential programs: the Parenting Program, the Adoption Program “Hannah’s House”, and the Transition Program for single mothers.
PLACENTIA H.I.S. HOUSE Serves California P.O. Box 1293 Placentia, CA 92871 (714) 993-5774 Transitional living center, offers no cost shelter to homeless individuals and families for 120-180 days while they develop permanent income, save money and locate permanent housing. Residents receive transportation and child care assist, personal support and job counseling. Interviews when space is available.
ANAHEIM PATHWAYS OF HOPE: ANAHEIM INTERFAITH SHELTER Serves Orange County P.O. Box 528 Anaheim, CA 92815 (714) 680-3691 Transitional shelter for families with dependent children. Families must be working full-time. Supplemental food, referral and counseling services. Wait – Varies. Call for info. Program fee required, $200 a month for a small family (up to 4) and $250 a month for a large family (5+) BUENA PARK FIRST SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCHServes Orange County 6801 Western Avenue Buena Park, CA 90621 (714) 522-7201 Shelter for families. Showers, clothing, medical, dental, drug counseling.
FULLERTON PATHWAYS OF HOPE: INTERFAITH SHELTER NETWORK ISN Serves Orange County 611 S. Ford Avenue Fullerton, CA 92832 (714) 680-3691 Assistance provided to single, employable adults to help them become self-reliant. Transitional shelter, meals, life skills training, job coaching and monitoring available. PATHWAYS OF HOPE: NEW VISTA TRANSITIONAL LIVING CENTER Serves Orange County Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Service P.O. Box 6326 Fullerton, CA 92834 (714) 680-3691 Transitional shelter for homeless families with children ages 17 yrs or younger. Assists families to regain independence with everyday living skills, savings program, practical and financial counseling, 90-120 day program. Spanish spoken. Must bring child to apply and have photo ID, proof of address.
GARDEN GROVE * THOMAS HOUSE TEMPORARY SHELTER Serves Orange County P.O. Box 2737 Garden Grove, CA 92842-2737 (714) 554-0357 and (714) 647-7534 – Hotline Transitional shelter for homeless families located in Garden Grove. Families seek employment, save money and locate permanent housing. Supportive services include: budgeting, life skills, case management, ESL classes, tutoring, family counseling, social service referrals and job counseling. Length of stay is 3-6 mos. Spanish spoken.
LOS ALAMITOS: PRECIOUS LIFE SHELTER Serves Orange County P.O. Box 414 Los Alamitos, CA 90720 (562) 431-5025 Three phase residential program provides supportive services for homeless, pregnant adult women ages 18 yrs +. 6 bed emergency program provides 1-30 day shelter on a first come, first served basis at no cost. 12 bed transitional program provides lodging up to 2 months after birth of baby. Single Parent Efficiency Program allows stays of up to 24 months after the birth providing resident is working or in job training program. Resident must have completed first two phases to be eligible. All programs are structured with house guidelines and curfew that must be followed. Drug/alcohol free program. $215/per month for transitional program, plus deposit.
COSTA MESA: ORANGE COAST INTERFAITH SHELTER Serves Orange County (Transitional Program) Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (949) 631-7213 Transitional program (up to 6 months) for 24 families. Provides budget counseling, mental health outreach and referrals, employment assist. Designed to assist qualifying families to find alternative housing. Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese are spoken. Homeless families, single women, fathers and mothers. Free service.
SPIN (SERVING PEOPLE IN NEED) Serves Orange County Guided Assist/Permanent Placement Housing 151 Kalmus Drive, Suite H-2 Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714) 751-1101 Apartment move-in assist, follow up case work and support services. One adult must be employed full-time and leaving a long-term shelter or transitional living program. SARP (Substance Abuse Rehab Program) provides financial assist for recovery for low income and homeless substance abusers. Wait varies. Free services. HUNTINGTON BEACH COLETTE’S CHILDREN’S HOME Serves Orange County 7372 Prince Drive, Suite 106 Huntington Beach, CA 92647 (714) 596-1380
Emergency and transitional shelter that provides housing and supportive service to women with children and single women. All clients are assigned a case manager who works with them to develop an individualized service plan that addresses the issues, such as substance abuse or domestic violence that caused them to become homeless. Clients are required to gain employment and save 80% of their monthly income to assist with their transition into permanent housing. Average stay is 6 months. Must be sober, homeless and employable.
IRVINE FAMILIES FORWARD Serves Orange County 8 Thomas Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 552-2727 Not an emergency shelter. 14 single family homes. Family must pay rent. Food and personal care items available to families by appointment only every week for families. Limited to once a month and up to 6 visits a year for others. Prevention program including limited financial assist and counseling for families on the brink of losing housing.
LAKE FOREST SOUTH COUNTY OUTREACH Serves Saddleback Valley, Irvine to San Clemente 26776 Vista Terrace, Suite B-12 Lake Forest, CA 92630 (949) 380-8144 Assists with emergency food, transitional housing, occasional rent and utility assist and medical prescriptions. Serves Saddleback Valley, Irvine to San Clemente.
TUSTIN HOPE FAMILY HOUSING Serves Orange County 1 Hope Drive Tustin, CA 92782 (714) 258-4450 2nd Step transitional housing for families with children or single parents with children. Large families are given preference. Length of stay varies. Must be referred by O.C. Shelter. Must be employed and willing to save 70% of income. Rental fee. Serves Orange County. Must be referred by O. C. Rescue Mission – listed below. HOUSE OF HOPE O.C. RESCUE MISSION Serves Orange County P.O. Box 4007 Tustin, CA 92702 (714) 247-4379 12-18 month transitional residential program for women and their children (ages 11 yrs and under) providing clients with basic education, job training, parenting classes, and one-to-one counseling. Intake is done through a two-step interview process. Christian program affiliated with the O. C. Rescue Mission in Tustin. Facility is not an immediate emergency shelter.
O. C. RESCUE MISSION Serves Orange County 1 Hope Drive Tustin, CA 92782 (800) 663-3074 Long term shelter for helping homeless people who want to get back on their feet. Men, women, and families accepted into the program. Also offers a Celebrate Recovery program, case management and counseling, workforce and computer training, child development center, recreation and transportation services. Also offers a clinic for medical, dental, and optical services. Call (714) 247-0300 to make an appointment – works on a sliding fee scale, application assist for the uninsured. Spanish spoken.
LAGUNA BEACH COMMUNITY OUTREACH OFFICER PROGRAM Serves Orange County Laguna Beach Police Department 505 Forest Avenue Laguna Beach, CA 92651 firstname.lastname@example.org (949) 497-0366 Department position created to directly respond to community concerns regarding the homeless. Works close with social services agencies in an effort to place homeless individuals in short-term shelters and long term housing. Also helps provide basic needs to help end the cycle of homelessness. FRIENDSHIP SHELTER Serves Orange County P.O. Box 4252 Laguna Beach, CA 92652-4252 (949) 494-6928 Shelter and a comprehensive program to assist homeless single men and women get back on their feet. Case management, individual and group counseling, life skills training, housing and special service for individual with mental health disabilities. Transitional housing. Maximum stay is 60 days. New intake individuals must call Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Must be clean and sober.
SAN CLEMENTE FAMILY ASSISTANCE MINISTRIES Serves Parts of Orange County 1030 Calle Negocio, Suite G San Clemente, CA 92673 (949) 492-8477 Provides a 26 bed homeless shelter for women and women with children under the age of 10 yrs. Offers rent/utility assist, bus passes, gas vouchers, info and referral.
GILCHRIST HOUSE Serves Orange County (Family Assistance Ministries) 1030 Calle Negocio, Suite G San Clemente, CA 92673 (949) 492-8477 Shelter service for women with children ages 10 yrs. or younger. Case management, support groups, resource referrals, parenting skills, budgeting. Must be employed, in job training or seeking full-time employment. Clean and sober 120 days. Sliding fee scale. No one turned away due to lack of funds. * Previously received grants from Catholic Campaign for Human Development: *
AMERICAN FAMILY HOUSING Serves West Orange County 15161 Jackson Street Midway City, CA 92655-1432 (714) 887-3221 330 units of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing. Counseling and case management. Financial, personal, and communication information Ages 18 yrs+. Drug free. S.H.I.P. (Self-help Interfaith Housing) is an ecumenical venture of volunteers from 19 churches which provides a four month residential program designed to lead program guests to permanent self-sufficiency. The area served with this program is West Orange County bordered by Lincoln Avenue to the north, Interstate 5 to the east, the 55 Freeway to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. *
MICAH’S WAY Serves Orange County 1913 E. 17th #O Santa Ana, CA 91705 (714) 667-7110 Help to support homeless and impoverished while they work through their issues by stabilizing and improving their living, working, financial and educational opportunities.= *
THOMAS HOUSE TEMPORARY SHELTER Serves Orange County P.O. Box 2737 Garden Grove, CA 92842-2737 (714) 554-0357 and (714) 647-7534 – Hotline Transitional shelter for homeless families located in Garden Grove. Families seek employment, save money and locate permanent housing. Supportive services include: budgeting, life skills, case management, ESL classes, tutoring, family counseling, social service referrals and job counseling. Length of stay is 3-6 mos. Spanish spoken.
“The lack of safe, affordable housing requires a renewed commitment to increase the supply of quality housing and to preserve, maintain, and improve existing housing through public/private partnerships, especially with religious groups and community organizations.” –USCCB, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 2011 The Church,
“sharing the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially those who are poor or affected in any way,” feels it has a serious obligation to join with those who are working, without self-interest and with dedication, to find concrete and urgent solutions to the housing problem and to see that the homeless receive the necessary attention and concern on the part of public authorities. –John Paul II, Letter to Pontifical Commission Justitia et Pax, 1987