The federal government defines "homelessness" as a condition in which an individual or family lacks a fixed, regular, nighttime residence; resides in a public or private residence that is not designed or intended to be a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; lives in a supervised shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements; and/or is at imminent risk of loosing their housing and has no subsequent residence identified or resources to obtain other permanent housing.
There are multiple "types" of homelessness, the most common including:
- Short-Term: Those who have fallen on some hard times financially and have been bumped out of housing. They have no major issues but are scrambling to find new housing arrangements in a short time span.
- Medium-Term: Those who have one major issue (mental illness, substance abuse, health problems or legal problems, etc.) but are able to get back on their feet within a year, working through the major life challenge.
- Chronic: Those who have multiple major issues (a combinations of mental illness, substance abuse, health problems and legal problems, etc.) find themselves homeless for more than a year, sometimes taking several years to work through multiple life challenges. The federal government estimates that 10 percent of the national homeless population are chronically homeless.
Homelessness is a very unique form of poverty, one that lacks personal relationships and financial resources.These individuals typically have no person to turn to, family or friend, for shelter or assistance. They are individuals who have gone through difficult experiences and need help getting back on their feet.
Newport Beach has some individuals who currently are experiencing homelessness due to a lack affordable housing, employment, health/mental care and life-changing events.
The City of Newport Beach (City) has allocated significant resources to address homelessness including a dedicated, full-time police officer assigned to the matter, working with the County of Orange case management staff and contracting with CityNet to provide homeless outreach services. As a City, we work with each individual on a case-by-case basis to see if we can get them into eligible services such as housing, medical treatment, etc. It is important to note that most individuals do not accept assistance right away, therefore multiple visits can be required before we can gain an individual's trust to speak to us and let us help them work on solutions.
Most recently, the City Council has formed a homeless task force, consisting of council members and community members, to develop a plan to reduce or eliminate homelessness. This task force is brainstorming on strategies to integrate services, developing a list of community partners willing to assist with addressing the issues, reviewing and considering temporary housing solutions and developing metrics to monitor the reduction of homelessness.