Mission: HomeAid Orange County’s mission is to end homelessness and it starts at the core – where does someone go when they suddenly find themselves without a home? HomeAid gives children and their parents, along with individuals, the opportunity to move from benches to beds to self-sufficiency. HomeAid achieves its mission through advocacy, development (of shelters) and service.
Results: Celebrating 25 years in Orange County, HomeAid is the only community based organization that has successfully developed 50 building and renovating housing projects (with a value of over $50 million) across the entire homeless Continuum of Care spectrum, providing facilities that range from emergency shelters, to transitional housing, to permanent supportive housing. Through over twenty five local service providers, HomeAid's housing developments offer support services designed to assist the homeless as they move toward self-sufficiency; such programs include education, job skills training, physical and emotional support. HomeAid's activities in Orange County have allowed service providers to significantly grow in their organizational capacity and to build successful programs impacting people's lives. As a result of the facilities that have been developed, these service providers are now in a greater position to carry out their mission and vision giving children and youth an opportunity to succeed.
Target demographics: The following is a list of the top constituencies served by HomeAid.1. Temporarily homeless families, women, and children2. Victims of domestic violence3. At-risk teens with no where to go4. Women in crisis pregnancies and newborns5. Young adults who have aged-out of the foster care system6. Developmentally disabled persons7. Severely abused children8. Pregnant teens, and teen mothers and their babies9. Victims of job loss, divorce, or desertion10. Those affected by natural disasters and other catastrophes11. Military veterans
Geographic areas served: Orange County, CA
Programs: Housing Development
I was recently introduced to the Orange County (California) HomeAid organization. HomeAid Orange County has the sole vision and purpose to end homelessness in Orange County.
HomeAid Orange County was founded in 1989 by the Building Industry Association of Southern California. Over the last 28 years they have completed 60 development projects that added 1500 shelter beds throughout the county. To date these facilities have housed 60,000 homeless.
HomeAid is primarily a housing developer that connects service providers with community volunteers, builders and specialty contractors to build new or renovate housing for homeless families and individuals. HomeAid is involved in each phase of the development including land acquisition, funding, design, construction, interior design, and landscaping. HomeAid multiplies every dollar received through in-kind donation and volunteer labor. To date, over $45 million in in-kind donations have been focused on solving homelessness in the community.
I visited the construction site for the new Family Care Center. This shelter will open in the Spring of 2017 and provide emergency housing for families. With 56 beds, it is expected to provide refuge for 10-15 families per day. As with all of HomeAid's developments, the Family Care Center will be operated by a community partner, in this case, Mercy House.
Beyond housing development, HomeAid has two other major initiatives impacting the homeless community.
"HomeAid Essentials" is a community wide annual effort to collect 1.5 - 2 million essential baby items such as diapers and baby food for the close to 500 babies and their mothers experience homelessness in Orange County.
"HomeAid CareKits" is a key means of outreach to those living on the streets. Each year approximately 6000 CareKits and other items such as blankets, clothing, and other hygiene items are assembled and distributed. The CareKits have many useful items, the most important of which is a reference card that links the homeless individual to a broad range of needed services.
HomeAid 's work has been validated by several organizations that continue to partner with them. These include Google, Kimberly-Clark, Starbucks, UPS, Angels Baseball, and Kaiser Permanente.
I highly recommend that anyone interested in ending homelessness consider partnering with HomeAid.