Monthly Newsletter
Updates from December 2017
A monthly newsletter summarizing the efforts of the Network for Homeless Solutions, a collaboration comprised of city staff, volunteers, community churches and nonprofit and private organizations to address homelessness in Costa Mesa.
Boy goes back to school
Outreach workers met a family that had been living on the streets for 10 years. One of the children, an 8-year-old boy, had never attended school.

Through the collaborative efforts and support of the Newport Mesa Unified School District and the Orange County Department of Education, the young boy was able to successfully enter into the school system.

Over the next few years the boy blossomed academically and socially.

Outreach recently received word that the boy has begun school at the Orange County High School of the Arts.
Senior gets fresh start
Outreach workers recently assisted an elderly man living in extremely unstable living conditions. Staff made several calls to organizations that assist seniors with locating housing, but there was no availability.

Through the help of Mercy House and Trellis the man was able to secure funding and move into a local apartment complex. He also convinced the landlord to adjust their underwriting criteria. 

Today the senior citizen is happy and thriving, and making new friends at the housing complex.
Pacifica Christian School holiday donation drive
Every year Pacifica Christian School and Stephani Ogas from Mercy House put together a Holiday donation drive for the Costa Mesa homeless community. 

Students were asked to bring new or slightly used items and were offered one community service hour for every three pairs of socks donated and one hour for any other donated item.

This year they collected socks, blankets, sleeping bags, back packs, and rain ponchos.

All donations went directly to the Costa Mesa homeless community and distributed through the Network for Homeless Solutions, Mercy House, the Lighthouse Church, staff and Trellis. 
Outreach staff attends Housing Navigation Workshop conducted by local non profits
Finding housing for individuals experiencing homelessness is one of the most challenging tasks for outreach workers throughout the county. The Housing Navigation Workshop which was recently conducted by three local nonprofits offered the following tips:
  1. Landlord relationships: The landlords who are working with our clients need to trust that if there is an issue , the provider will be there to resolve the issue with the client. Having incentives for the landlords is also important, being that all around support for the landlord.
  2. Client relationships: The relationship with the landlord is important, but having a relationship with the client is just as important. It is difficult to place four to five strangers together in a community expecting them to live together with no issues. The community will be more successful in housing the clients if the clients know one another and have experienced life on the streets as a group. 
  3. Standing by your word: Saying you are going to do something and following through is so important when working with a landlord in gaining trust with a client. You have to be able to back up everything you've stated that you were going to do. 
  4. Having the individual find their housing: It is so important that the client find their place of housing. This gives the client a sense of accomplishment and pride that they located their house. Programs should support their client with tenant education workshops and help them become familiar with their community resources. 
  5. Obstacles in finding housing: The most challenging part in locating an apartment is having to work with the fair market values that make housing unaffordable.
  6. Corporation vs. private owners: Illumination Foundation finds it easier to work with private apartment owners vs. Families Forward working with bigger corporation apartment buildings. Private owners have more opportunity to adjust the rent whereas the bigger corporation may not have that flexibility. 
  7. Third party payment: Many apartments will not accept a third party payment. They indicated that the need to be able to explain how the payment works and the benefits of working with the organization.
  8. Month-to-month lease: Whenever possible have the landlord work with a month to month lease with an exit clause in place. The client must respect the lease they have signed, which may require a great deal of upfront counseling.
December Housing actions
December Linkages
Linkage Transportation
Linkage Medical
Linkages Mental Health
Linkages Field Support
Linkages Social Services
Linkages Housing
Linkages Collaborative Case Management
Linkages Job Connection
Linkage Documentation
Contacts made by Code Enforcement in December
Below is an inforgraphic summarizing a collaborative study among Orange County United Way, Jamboree, and the University of California, Irvine, with the support of the Association of California Cities – Orange County (ACC-OC), 2-1-1 Orange County (211OC),
and the Hospital Association of Southern California.

Click here to access the full report.
Meet Stephani Ogas
Stephani Ogas has been with Mercy House since September 2015. She works as an outreach coordinator assigned to both the cities of Dana Point and Costa Mesa. 

Prior to her current role, she spent several years volunteering with Trellis as both an outreach worker and mentor. She has built some great relationships with the people living on the streets. Her background with Trellis has made her a valuable asset to the city because of her ability to form close relationships with the homeless.

 “I love being a part of such a great team in Costa Mesa, Ogas said. " It allows me to spend more time with those I come in contact with and am able to help.”

She considers the Network for Homeless Solutions Outreach Team and partnering organizations her “second family” and is excited to continue to grow and move forward in her efforts to reduce homelessness in Costa Mesa.  

Orange County Behavioral Health
Outreach and Engagement Linkages and Services
  • 49 total contacts made with new and existing clients
  • 13 referrals made to mental health services 
  • 3 referrals made to medical services 
  • 6 referrals made to substance abuse services 
  • 5 referrals made to social services 
  • 0 referral made to job resources 
  • 3 referral made to legal services
  • 3 referrals made to permanent housing
  • 5 referrals made to temporary housing
  • 3 referrals made to transitional housing
Orange County Behavioral Health
Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) 
  • 13 total hours of service 
  • 9 contacts made with private residents
  • 4 contact made with homeless residents 
  • 1 hospitalized
  • 2 legal holds
2017 Point in Time Estimates Show Significant Geographical Variations in Our Progress toward Ending Homelessness
By: Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of United States Interagency
Council on Homelessness
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its report summarizing the data from 2017 Point in Time (PIT) Counts, reporting a mix of results.

The estimates provided by this data indicate continued progress in many parts of the country, but finds indications of stalled progress or significant increases in some communities. Further, the data documents important progress in ending homelessness for families with children but stalled progress for veterans and significant increases for people with disabilities who are experiencing chronic homelessness.

These results appear to have been impacted significantly by limited housing supply and increasing rents in many large urban areas across the country.


The estimates for different populations experiencing homelessness include:
  • The estimate of the total number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night was 553,742 people. This represented an increase for the first time in seven years - up a little less than 1 percent (or 3,814 people) - after declining 14 percent between 2010 and 2016. This increase is driven entirely by a 9 percent increase in unsheltered homelessness.
  • The number of families with children experiencing homelessness was reduced by 5 percent (or 3,294 households) between 2016 and 2017, contributing to an encouraging 27 percent reduction between 2010 and 2017.
  • Estimated homelessness among veterans ticked up slightly - by 1.5 percent or 585 veterans - stalling the 47 percent reduction in veteran homelessness between 2010 and 2016.
  • The number of individuals estimated to be experiencing chronic homelessness went up by 12 percent (or 9,476 individuals), after declining 27 percent between 2010 and 2016, which appears to be both driven by worsening conditions and by efforts in many communities to more accurately determine which people meet the definition of chronic homelessness.
  • There were an estimated 40,799 unaccompanied youth under the age of 25 experiencing homelessness. This number will serve as the baseline for assessing progress on youth homelessness within the PIT counts in the years ahead.
To read the 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress visit:

Regional Variations

There is a great deal of local and regional variation in the data this year, with a small number of communities having a large impact on the national totals and with continued indications of progress in much of the country .

  • Sixty percent of Continuums of Care (237 CoCs) reported that they had reduced total homelessness, while 40 percent (162 CoCs) reported increases. (A Continuum of Care is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families. )
  • 30 states and the District of Columbia reported that they had reduced total homelessness, while 20 states reported increases.
  • The increase in homelessness nationwide has been driven primarily by increases in unsheltered homelessness among individuals in some communities, especially along the West Coast, that are facing significant challenges within their rental markets. For example, if we remove the data from just a few high cost/low vacancy rental markets that reported large increases, the rest of the country reported an estimated 3 percent reduction in total homelessness, a 7 percent reduction in homelessness among families with children, a 6 percent reduction in homelessness among veterans, and a smaller increase of 4 percent in chronic homelessness.

But we also know that we can't overlook the challenging issues within many parts of the country that this data documents.

 It is clear that many of the forces that appear to be driving increases in homelessness in some communities cannot be solved by the agencies and programs dedicated to ending homelessness alone. High costs and low vacancy rates are putting more people at risk of entering homelessness and are making it harder and harder for people to find housing as they strive to exit homelessness.
Addressing those challenges requires a broader, community-wide response, engaging the efforts of many different jurisdictions, systems, agencies and sectors. Otherwise, our homelessness services systems will be increasingly bottlenecked by the lack of housing in which people can afford to live. We're seeing such bottlenecks forming already in some communities.
Volunteers needed at The Check in Center
The Check in Center is a storage facility for our neighbors who are homeless to keep their belongings in a safe and secure place. This allows clients to go on job interviews, medical and social services appointments. Our homeless friends are also relieved of the physical burden of carrying all their belongings on their back or alternatively stashing everything in the parks and neighborhoods.

Volunteers at the CIC typically help clients retrieve and store their items through checking client bins in and out and according to special procedures. In addition, there's time to get to know the clients better, especially those who are regulars.

All volunteers are partnered with an experienced lead volunteer to give direction and guidance .

New volunteers will also receive a folder containing Oath For Compassionate Service, Professional Boundaries and Handling Conflict and CIC  Pointers for working with the homeless to aid in understanding proper and effective methods of dealing with the complicated issue of homelessness.

Volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of two shifts per month in order to develop collective relationship-building , a key factor in ending homelessness.

The CIC is located at the lowest level of the parking structure at the Crossing Church 2115 Newport Blvd. in Costa Mesa.

Hours of Operations             
Mon-Fri   6:00-7:30 a.m.        
Mon-Thur  6:30-8:00 p.m.
Sat       7:00-10:00 a.m.
Fri-Sat    6:30-7:30 p.m.    
On Sundays, it is closed .
Contact: Robert Morse  or call 949-205-3583
Trellis Community Impact Team Update
Mentors are needed!

Trellis Community Impact Team – Saturdays at 11:30 a.m,
The Crossing Church
 Saturday Morning L.O.T.S. (Life on the Streets) Showers, Laundry & Breakfast 7:30 – 11:00 a.m. For further information, contact
Costa Mesa Street Team
  • The Street Team is looking for evening and weekend volunteers to assist those on the streets of Costa Mesa. If this interests you, please call or text (949) 466-0355
Bus pick-up locations:
Pick-up is at 6 p.m. at the 200 block of E. Santa Fe Avenue (south side of the street between S. Pomona Avenue and N. Lemon Street)
Additional Information:
  • No weapons, drugs, or alcohol will be permitted in or around the shelter
  • Clients are required to have their photos taken upon intake
  • Services include a warm meal, a sleeping mat and blanket and the opportunity to shower
  • All clients must exit the shelter at 6 a.m. each morning