Hunger and homelessness are both community health issues that matter to every resident of North Orange County. When our community struggles with hungry residents and when our neighbors become homeless, it affects us all. Our health, safety, and financial well-being are made more challenging when so many in our neighborhoods and schools are struggling. Hunger and homelessness both have these effects on North Orange County daily.
The challenge is daunting. But it’s also solvable.
We know that a robust, community supported housing continuum that incorporates models from Prevention and Diversion all the way through Permanent Supportive Housing can effectively end homelessness in our community. The work of Pathways of Hope is necessary to do the right thing and help so many in need, and to create a significant improvement of the quality of life in North Orange County.
There are many common misconceptions about homelessness. Recently, Orange County United Way commissioned a homeless study conducted by the University of California at Irvine. This study paints a more complete picture of the reasons people become homeless. Homelessness is predominately an issue of economics, and the vast majority of our local community members experiencing homelessness have lived in this region for a decade or more. We also know that it costs twice as much money to leave a person experiencing chronic homelessness on the street than it costs to house them with a program like Permanent Supportive Housing.
Even here in one of the most prosperous counties in the richest country in the world, many of our friends and neighbors experience food insecurity. According to data from Second Harvest Food Bank, 1 in 6 children in Orange County faces food insecurity each day.
Pathways of Hope knows the impact being hungry has on a household’s stability and a child’s development. We are committed to leading an effort to end hunger for all people in North Orange County through our food distribution services at the HUB of Hope resource center in Richman Park in Fullerton.