Homelessness is a complex issue that requires everyone's attention. Our community has the need to understand the many root causes of homelessness and what is being done to address the issue. The City, along with our numerous partners is doing our part to ensure that homelessness is addressed on behalf of our residents and community.
Why Are People Homeless?
There are many surprising and heart-wrenching stories behind many of the individuals who find themselves homeless. Some have lost their homes due to the loss of a job or loved one, while others are fleeing domestic violence. Other contributing factors may include the lack of affordable housing, low wages, substance abuse or mental health issues. In a 2017 study conducted in concert with the Orange County United Way, Jamboree Housing, UC Irvine, and the Association of California Cities-Orange County and other regional stakeholders, the findings point to securing or retaining jobs with sustainable wages and finding or retaining affordable housing, as the number one and two most identified reasons for homelessness. In fact, these two circumstances alone account for 76 percent of the basis for homelessness.
Current City Efforts
- Dedicating a full-time Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) officer for homeless outreach, safety and security in conjunction with the existing HEART program;
- Enacting a new section to the Santa Ana City Code to improve health and safety conditions in the Civic Center;
- Recruiting and hiring a new Homeless Services Manager;
- Creating an Interdepartmental Committee on Homelessness;
- Holding Outreach and Engagement Fairs in the Civic Center;
- Minimizing the number of needles found in the surrounding area to protect our employees and the general public, including children who use our library.
In addition, a 30-day pilot Quality of Life Team (QOLT) was formed in late January of 2018 to address the number of concerns related to municipal code violations, property storage and improper use of public/private property. The formation of the QOLT has both increased efficiency in addressing quality of life issues and increased response times. This multidisciplinary team is comprised of staff from the offices of SAPD, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Community Development, Community Preservation, City Attorney, and the City Manager. The process of bringing all stakeholders together in the field was modeled on best practices utilized by several cities throughout the country. During the first week of the program, the team was trained by the City Attorney and Police Department and then responded to locations identified by the City Council and community. Moving forward, the team will focus on parks and responding to concerns of city residents and businesses regarding health and safety issues throughout the City.
Outreach and engagement efforts continue in the Civic Center by non-profit homeless service providers and the SAPD HEART team to connect individuals with housing, job training, relocation and mental health services.
Who Can I Call?
If you are a resident or business owner wishing to report a concern about homelessness such as abandoned property on City right-of-way, you may download the free MySantaAna application with an iPhone or Android and report service requests under Abandoned Property/Illegal Dumping. You may also contact Public Works Dispatch by calling 714-647-3380.
For Shopping Carts removal, you may contact Community Preservation at 714-667-2780.