Monthly Newsletter
Updates from January 2018
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.
Getting clean and sober together
Sara and Todd had been experiencing homelessness on the streets of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach for three years.

Outreach staff first encountered the pair through a support program at a local community center.  

The pair were inseparable. They struggled with addiction, retaining employment and locating housing. They wanted to combine their limited funds and locate a place to live.

Outreach staff linked the pair to a rental assistance program. After a few failed attempts, the couple were able to combine their limited funds and find a place in a good location.

With the help of Trellis, they have successfully moved into their home and Sara has located employment and both are and sober.
Learning new habits
For the first time in fifteen years a woman received shared cost housing.

A few weeks after being housed, Outreach staff noticed she was a ”treasure hunter of excess goods,” also known as “hoarding."

The woman explained that on the street she collected items to fill a void.

The hoarding began to jeopardize her new housing, so Outreach staff immediately pulled together a team to assist her. They cleared out 75 percent of the things in her home.

The woman was very cooperative, apologetic, and thankful for staff's assistance. To prevent the hoarding from reaccurring, staff has scheduled weekly visits and have contacted a hoarding specialist to teach her organizational tips and how to control the amount of stuff she accumulates.
Back to Texas
Outreach staff recently encountered a young man named Abel taking a nap at a local park.

Originally from Texas, he informed Outreach he was was from out of town and staying with a friend in Westminster.

With a wife and two children back home, Abel told Outreach staff he didn't want to be on the streets anymore. He had been praying to God to answer his prayers to get back home.

The next day Outreach met Abel at the Lighthouse Church to complete a reconnection application. Lighthouse purchased a bus ticket and Trellis took him to the bus station that night.

The next day, Outreach contacted his girlfriend who confirmed he was home and they expressed their gratitude for helping him.
Project Hope Alliance spends a day with the Chargers
The Monday after Thanksgiving four players from the Los Angeles Chargers, Travis Benjamin, Chris Landrum, James Onwuala and Michael Davis all gathered in the Family Center at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church to meet with Project Hope Alliance families.

This was an opportunity for each of the players to learn about their new community and the hardships some children face in Orange County as well as the organizations, like St. Andrew’s Presbyterian and Project Hope Alliance, that partner to help them.
Sitting with families as they ate pizza, each player listened and shared stories. Each player signed autographs for the families, took pictures with the kids, and offered their advice and support for students in school.

The relationship between Project Hope Alliance and the Chargers was born out of the generosity of Travis Benjamin. After the franchise moved from San Diego, Benjamin wanted to continue his support for disadvantaged youth, a practice he started when he first joined the Chargers.

Chase Hartman, the team’s community relation’s manager brought a list of local non-profits to Benjamin who quickly selected Project Hope Alliance to be the recipient of five season tickets to all home games. The tickets came with one stipulation—that they be used for Project Hope Alliance families.
The tickets were a huge hit with the families who regularly attended the games to cheer players on. Afterwards, families shared their gratitude for the experience with their Project Hope Alliance case managers.

Through a letter, those experiences were passed on to Benjamin, which he taped to the inside of his locker.
Benjamin wanted to do more and have a chance to meet some of the families. So Project Hope Alliance turned to St. Andrew’s for help.

By providing enough space in a private setting, St Andrew’s allowed the Project Hope Alliance families to relax and enjoy the experience without unwanted attention.

In the Family Center at St. Andrew’s the tables turned as four NFL players began rooting for these families’ success.
January Housing actions
Linkage Transportation
Linkage Medical
Linkages Mental Health
Linkages Field Support
Linkages Social Services
Linkages Housing
Linkages Collaborative Case Management
Linkages Job Connection
Linkages Documentation
Linkages Substance Abuse
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 Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson was born in Seattle, Washington. He and his wife Cathy of 37 years have three daughters, and three grandchildren.

Nelson studied music composition at Cal State Long Beach where he wrote arrangements for the University Big Band. He was a professional musician and traveled to nine different countries and played nine different instruments.  

Upon graduation, Nelson went to culinary school and received his certificates in gourmet cooking, baking and formal buffet dining. In 2012, he graduated from Hope International University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in biblical studies and ministry leadership. In 2014, he also went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in pastoral counseling and strategic leadership. 

Nelson is an ordained minister within the church and has held various positions over a span of 35 years.
After earning his Master’s degree, Nelson wrote the “Life Support Team Training Manual (LSTTM)," a published manual on training people who have the desire to help homeless but don't know how.

In 2014 he began training mentors with the goal of helping people remember who they were before they became homeless.

In 2012 Bill and Cathy founded Fresh Beginnings Ministries (FBM) in Costa Mesa with 18 volunteers and the goal of helping 100 people per month. The office and warehouse opened on May 1, 2014 and FBM was able to help 800 people with food, clothing and housing assistance in the first month.

FBM has grown to 257 volunteers and has helped with food assistance of over 22,000 meals. They now support 14 different service organizations and six different church denominations.

The training of volunteers to become Life Support Mentors has continued and from 2014 to 2017 there have been 146 graduates of the program who assist in six different ministries, four different churches and three different service organizations which include the City of Costa Mesa, Trellis, Salvation Army, Mercy House, and Volunteers of America.

During the holidays, FBM serves 250 family food boxes, 250 Turkeys to be cooked, 60 Cooked Turkeys with all the trimmings. FBM also collects 1000 toys and distributes them to vet families, children shelters throughout Orange County.

Nelson was named Alumnus of the Year from Hope International University in 2016 and also received “California’s top 10 People You Can Bank On in 2016”, a prestigious award from Farmers and Merchants Bank.

When he is not stocking shelves at Fresh Beginnings Ministries or spending time with his family, one of Bill’s favorite hobbies is competitive Trap and Skeet shooting.

Orange County Behavioral Health
Outreach and Engagement Linkages and Services
  • 56 total contacts made with new and existing clients
  • 2 referrals made to mental health services 
  • 10 referrals made to medical services 
  • 4 referrals made to substance abuse services 
  • 4 referrals made to social services 
  • 1 referral made to job resources 
  • 2 referral made to legal services
  • 1 referrals made to permanent housing
  • 13 referrals made to temporary housing
  • 1 referrals made to transitional housing
Orange County Behavioral Health
Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) 
  • 9.5 total hours of service 
  • 7 contacts made with private residents
  • 3 contact made with homeless residents 
  • 3 legal holds
Meet the extreme weather team
For the third consecutive year Costa Mesa Street Team has formed an “extreme cold weather street team.”

The team walks the streets in search of people needing direction to the armory shelter. 

Additionally, the team provides needed items to people that are unable to access shelter. 

To donate needed rain ponchos or socks please contact Crystal Clark at (714) 466-0355
Outreach attends shared housing conference in Arizona
Outreach staff recently attended a seminar in Arizona regarding shared housing of people experiencing homelessness. 

Shared housing is not a new concept, in fact 25% of households in the United States live in some form of shared housing and 75% of people under 65 who don't live with a spouse reside in this type of household. 

Additionally, shared housing is not concentrated among low-income households. 

Reasons to consider shared housing include the rising housing costs. This can make maintaining adequate housing prohibitive for people on a fixed income and those working for minimum wage. Additionally, there is an inadequate supply of affordable housing, stagnant incomes and shrinking resources. 

With the current homeless population, shared housing has some great advantages.  It allows people to choose who they live with and it empowers people to create their own agreements, roommate options and goals. 

Shared housing also creates emotional and physically safe environments. Participants get to name their strengths and preferences and really be a part of the process. Each participant decides upon their own roommate agreement and the more things that can be stated and written down in the agreement the better in order to hold all parties accountable.

Shared housing empowers self-determination and gives flexibility to choose roommates relative to needs and circumstances. With shared housing, the person freely agrees to it for either economic reasons or social support. Each person enters into an agreement to abide by a set of shared responsibilities which can be for a long or short term.

Although there are many benefits to shared housing, there are also obstacles.

Property owners must have a lease agreement with each individual or family living in the property as apposed to a single lease. In addition, property owners become concerned about the number of people within a single unit. Property owners have reservations regarding case managers level of involvement and how inclusive managers will be of the landlords requests.

To address some of these concerns it is recommended that a liaison between the tenant's case manager and the property owners be established. It should also be conveyed to the home owner that payment is still made should one of the tenants move out. Once another tenant is found, they will begin to take over payment.

Its essential to try to alleviate concerns of the landlord before issues arise.

In conclusion, shared housing requires staff to have specific training and clearly identified roles.

In the beginning, shared housing takes extra time on the front end. As participants begin to take control of their situation, they become empowered and handle their own affairs allowing staff to take on a less involved role.
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