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Update on City Efforts to Address Homelessness in Newport Beach

Residents are encouraged to consider "Good Giving" options for offering financial assistance

The City Council and City staff members have received emails and calls from residents and visitors who have noticed an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach. We too have noticed this change and believe there are a number of contributing factors.

  1. The economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic continue to result in job loss and many can’t afford to maintain their housing arrangements.
  2. Orange County is working quickly to open more shelters but there are still not enough beds available to those that need them. This is the time of year, of course, when beds are most in demand.
  3. Some existing shelters may be reducing the number of individuals they can serve due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  4. Some communities have opened new shelters and thus, are likely enforcing their anti-camping laws.
  5. Newport Beach has a reputation for being a generous community and that may be encouraging panhandling.

The City has a dedicated police officer and a homeless coordinator who work full-time on our homeless outreach efforts with our contractor, City Net. Together, they are diligently working with those experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach to help connect them with services such as emergency housing, mental and health care, benefits counseling and a variety of other community-based programs and services. Consistent engagement and trust building are often needed before many individuals are comfortable accepting assistance that will help lead to long-term solutions to their homelessness. The City also formed a multi-departmental Rapid Response Team that works to engage our homeless population and clean up areas where trash and debris have been left behind. 

We continue to work with other cities and the County of Orange to coordinate resources. The City recently entered into an agreement with the City of Costa Mesa that will allow Newport Beach to access 20 beds in Costa Mesa’s new Bridge Shelter. That facility will open in the beginning of April. And, the City will also be able to refer individuals to the County’s new Yale Transitional Center. There are a number of individuals in Newport Beach that are anxiously awaiting available shelter beds and we are very much looking forward to seeing these new facilities open.

Newport Beach is a generous community. Residents regularly contact the City asking how they can best help individuals experiencing homelessness. We strongly encourage you to consider “Good Giving” by providing financial assistance to the local organizations that provide assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness, in lieu of giving directly to those who are panhandling. Further, should you choose to donate directly to the City of Newport Beach, the money will be dedicated toward resources for individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness in our community and to provide immediate and short-term financial assistance to those working hard to maintain their new housing or jobs. We consider it an “emergency fund” to help keep individuals housed and help them maintain access to work or needed services.

A current example of who these direct donations may benefit:

Since November 2020, the City has worked with a community member who lost her Newport Beach housing as the result of a divorce. She then lived in her car, close to her job in Newport Beach. Several months ago, the City and City Net helped the woman find and secure an apartment in a nearby community. She continues to commute to work in Newport Beach. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her work hours have been reduced. She cannot pay her full rent for January and the City is helping her raise the $900 she needs to stay in her home. 

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