Assistance, Outreach, & Housing Access
Laguna Niguel, Calif. – The City of Laguna Niguel has released its 2021 Annual Report on Homelessness. The positive results of the report display the City's commitment to doing its fair share to provide assistance and resources to individuals experiencing homelessness, as well as to those that may be on the verge of homelessness, in Laguna Niguel.
The City's strong results are due in part to its strategic 3-pronged approach, which includes intentional collaborative partnerships between City Administration, Local Service Providers, and Behavioral Health Liaisons (BHL's) from the Orange County Sheriff's Department. This collaborative approach, which includes providing assistance resources, outreach & diversion services, and access to housing navigation, is safe, supported, and dignified.
Local Service Providers
The City's key local service provider partners include Mercy House, Family Assistance Ministries (F.A.M.), and South County Outreach. These strategic partners work with single adults and families to identify and meet their needs related to housing, mental health, nutrition, government programs, subsidy assistance, substance abuse, relocation transportation, etc. 2021 key partner program highlights and successes include: 12 individuals exiting the streets to permanent and/or temporary housing, emergency shelter or institutional care; 7,569 food encounters by Laguna Niguel residents, 304 Laguna Niguel seniors being served; and, 2,020 total cumulative Laguna Niguel clients being served. The full 2021 Annual Report on Homelessness can be found below.
Federal Funds and Key Partners
Deputy City Manager, Justin Martin, who leads the City's response to homelessness stated, "the City is fortunate to have such strong partnerships, both with our key local service providers and with the Behavioral Health Liaison Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The synergy that has been created is outstanding and is unique for this part of the County. Our successes in 2021 and the successes that we are already seeing during 2022 could not be possible without our key local service provider partnerships. The City is also fortunate to have been the recipient of both local and Federal grant funds, which has been strategically allocated to fully fund the programs and services provided by these key partners."
The City has followed up its successes in 2021 with strong results during the first quarter of 2022. These results include 2 individuals that have exited the streets and entered into permanent housing and 8 additional individuals that have entered into temporary housing, emergency shelter or institutional care.
Carol Sullivan, Mercy House Outreach Manager stated "Laguna Niguel's dedicated Mercy House outreach coordinators, Mary and Troy, are honored to help the city with their quest to end homelessness in the city. Some of the services they have offered include providing vouchers for ID, helping clients return to the job market, obtaining EBT (food) cards, linking clients to disability and retirement funds, and referring them to housing resources. The strong partnership between city officials, Sheriff's Deputies, and Mercy House has made a difficult task easier and made a difference in the lives of many people who have needed help to move forward in their lives."
Elizabeth Andrade, Chief Executive Officer of F.A.M. stated, "F.A.M. is thankful and encouraged by the continued commitment that the City of Laguna Niguel has demonstrated in ensuring residents have access to resources and services. Our public, private partnership is anchored on maintaining a person centered approach with solutions being measured for efficiencies. The financial investment the city provides helps F.A.M. quickly respond to the residents needs such as rental assistance, utility assistance, nutritious food services, tax preparation and case management."
South County Outreach
LaVal Brewer, President and CEO of South County Outreach stated, "We are very proud of our partnership with the City of Laguna Niguel. In 2021, South County Outreach provided $45,507 in financial assistance to Laguna Niguel residents in need of rental or utility assistance. We also served 227 of the city's residents through our client-choice food pantry. With about 5% of our clients residing in Laguna Niguel, our partnership with the city has become even more essential in preventing hunger and homelessness in our community."
Because Laguna Niguel is directly bordered by six surrounding cities and unincorporated County land, it is not uncommon to see fluctuations in the total amount of homeless individuals in the City. Because of the City's location, homeless individuals from neighboring cities can easily walk, bike, or drive across the street and be within the City's borders, from six or more different directions. To support with this, the City's Homeless Engagement & Logistics Program (H.E.L.P.) Team, was created. The H.E.L.P. Team, which is comprised of staff from various City departments, Sheriff's Deputies, and partner outreach coordinators, meets regularly to discuss efforts, issues, initiatives, and resources related to homelessness in the City. The establishment of the City's H.E.L.P. Team has undoubtedly added value to the City's efforts and has contributed to the successes that have been seen related to homelessness.
To learn more about the City's approach to ending and preventing homelessness, or to review additional resource guides, brochures and community partner contact information, please visit www.cityoflagunaniguel.org/homeless.
The City of Laguna Niguel remains committed to continuing its strategic partnerships with key local service providers to collaborate in preventing and ending homelessness and hunger for Laguna Niguel residents.