Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..
Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  
Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  

Orange County Advocates Report 34 Homeless Deaths in April and 90 Deaths Since Jan. 1st

At the current pace the 2020 total could exceed the record of 244 deaths in 2018

By Tim Houchen
May 13, 2020 —

Every month for the past two years, Father Dennis Kriz has published a list of those persons that died without homes in the previous month and he presides over a monthly memorial ceremony that is held at St. Philip Benezi Catholic Church in Fullerton.

In a monthly newsletter Father Kriz reported that 34 homeless persons had passed away during the month of April making it the deadliest month ever for persons experiencing homelessness in Orange County.

The record-breaking numbers from April and the higher than average totals for the three previous months, puts 2020 on track to break the record of 244 homeless deaths set in 2018.

Information regarding the monthly memorial services held at the St. Benizi Catholic Church in Fullerton, CA
This list was published by Father Kriz in his newsletter on Tuesday May 5th and shows the names of 34 individuals that died without permanent, healthy, safe and secure places to call home
This is part of the spreadsheet that the Orange County Coroner’s office provides to the public. Notice the absence of the word “homeless.” instead under the heading of residence/address the entry reads, “No fixed abode.”

In Orange County, Father Kriz and myself are considered as authorities on the subject of homeless deaths. Father Kriz for his monthly memorials and op-eds and myself as the Executive Director of Hope 4 Restoration, which has since 2016, been the lead organizer of events recognizing National Homeless Persons Memorial Day held each year on December 21st.

As authorities of homeless deaths in Orange County, we are concerned about the information that we get from the Coroner so that some sense can be made from the causes of death in order to determine how deaths can be prevented in the future.

The spreadsheet from the Orange County Coroner’s office does provide an explanation as to a cause of death in the column under the heading labeled “Cause A.” The majority of the deaths as you will see on the spreadsheet however, will be labeled as “pending investigation.”. In my experience, I have not once been updated by the Coroner for the results of a pending investigation regarding a homeless death.

So, we have talked about the record number of homeless deaths in April, but we haven’t said anything about how these people died. With the COVID-19 pandemic, also comes the question of how many homeless people died as a result of the virus?

We may never know this answer. What we do know from looking at the numbers is that homeless people are dying at a higher rate beginning several months back even before the Coronavirus made its presence known in California.

That being said, we must question the amount of and the quality of the care that homeless individuals are being provided here. We must question the effectiveness of the outreach that is being performed by county workers and the organizations that are contracted by the county to provide homeless outreach.

With such a high number of deaths over the course of the last several months, perhaps our county should re-define what “vulnerable” really means. I have been contacted by about two dozen homeless individuals, many who I would determine as vulnerable and at-risk of contracting COVID-19, who have not been able to get access to motel/hotel rooms as prescribed in Project Roomkey.

In early April, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would provide 15,000 hotel and motel rooms for unsheltered Californians. But those rooms aren’t for everyone — they are made available to people only if they are at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, or after they have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes it.

Nearly a month after the governor’s “Project Roomkey” announcement, only a little more than a third of those rooms are filled. 

We are asking our sources at the county questions regarding Project Roomkey and who is considered vulnerable and why are people that I consider as vulnerable not able to access motel/hotel rooms? I would like to know how many people are in the motel/hotels and how many homeless persons have contracted the virus? If there have been any deaths contributed to COVID-19, I would like to know how many?

You can bet that I will do everything in my power to decrease the numbers of people dying on our streets. That can only happen if we can increase the number of opportunities for our homeless people to become stabily housed and provided with all of the necessary services and resources that they need to one day become completely self-sustainable.

In the meanwhile, I have presented all of my questions to the people that have all of the answers at the county. Now, I’ll just sit back and wait to get some answers. Hopefully, I won’t have to wait too long.


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1 Comment on "Orange County Advocates Report 34 Homeless Deaths in April and 90 Deaths Since Jan. 1st"

  1. Wasn’t Fairview State Hospital supposed to be opened for this purpose?

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