Shelter and Permanent Housing Work in Concert to Save Lives

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A message from David Gillanders, Executive Director:

To all of our friends and supporters, Happy New Year and welcome to my first blog post of 2019!

As always, Pathways of Hope is simultaneously doing the work of ending hunger and homelessness in the North Orange County and looking for new opportunities to expand those services to more of our vulnerable friends and neighbors.

I was very pleased to spend last evening in Placentia at the City Council meeting where, by a 4-1 vote, the city made what we feel is the right decision and moved forward with an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement to purchase an industrial building off of Orangethorpe in order to develop a homeless Navigation Center or Hub.

The programmatic concept is to build a point-of-entry that ideally will work with our homeless friends not only to give them a safe place and remove them from the elements and the general danger and vulnerability of living outside, and provide them with access to resources around employment, physical and mental health care, but most importantly, linkage to permanent housing options.

Shelters are not, and never will be, the complete and total solution to homelessness. A bed in a shelter is only as valuable as the permanent housing placement it is eventually (and hopefully quickly) linked to. They are however a critical first step in safety, stabilization, and planning as we work with our friends and community members that are dealing with multiple layers of trauma and in many cases years of living in complete and total vulnerability.

The road map for every person experiencing homelessness from a state of living outside to being permanently housed is different, but we know the resources necessary to give that map value and to have a chance to be effective must be advocated for every day. Shelter and Permanent Housing work in concert with each other in a way we must all acknowledge, accept, and work towards.

Last year, every 36 hours Orange County laid to rest a person who was living outside without, as the coroner describes it, “fixed abode.” 244 in total, these people are our brothers, mothers, uncles, grandparents, children, daughters, cousins, friends, etc. They are the people we know, who for a myriad of reasons, be it mental health or increasingly financial, have fallen through the cracks and ended up on the streets.

These are lives that have value. Lives that are worth saving. They are people that can add and contribute positively to our community. They often simply need the right resources and tools. Left to navigate a complex system of care on their own, and dealing with any particular and acute health issues they may currently have, the idea of success is precarious at best.

In 2019 we are committed to activate on more opportunities to provide our community with the resources and tools it needs to see that number start to drop from 244 to eventually 0. We hope you will join us!

Thanks for all you do to help those in our shared community that struggle every day with hunger and homelessness.

My best,

-David
dgillanders@pohoc.org 
(714) 680-3691 ext. 201

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