ROTTEN.COUNTY.OF.ORANGE Credit: David Duran

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors gives malicious efforts to ignore the county’s growing unhoused population. According to the Commission to End Homelessness by-laws, the mission of the Commission is to: “Effectively End Homelessness in Orange County.” 

Created in 2018, the Commission has scheduled 16 general meetings and 4 special meetings and since October 2018 has been chaired by Supervisor Andrew Do and Supervisor Doug Chaffee during the April meeting, reluctantly accepted the nomination to act as chair of the Commission to End Homelessness. After accepting the nomination, he recognized that he didn’t really know what the Commission to End Homelessness was created to do.

This commission’s neglect began with the cancellation of Commission to End Homelessness meeting in September 2019, since then, 6 other meetings have been cancelled, including 2 of the special meetings, and the latest upcoming meeting has been cancelled which was scheduled for June 16, 2021.

With the county exercising this much effort to neglect the unhoused population, one could justifiably conclude that the growing unhoused population within the county and the growing number of monthly deaths of unhoused infants, children, women, and men is not even close to a priority of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The Commission to End Homelessness membership roster reads like a Who’s Who in Orange County but only time will tell the true story of their ongoing malicious neglect or….this commission’s ethic and morals to give serious consideration to “Effectively End Homelessness in Orange County” as they were convened to do.

Trusting this county Board of Supervisors to do the right thing is challenging at best because of their history of reported neglect and lack of motivation according to a string of Grand Jury Reports with the most recent report that actually began their summary with “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” Mahatma Gandhi. An earlier but still relevant Grand Jury Report  stated: “1.1 The homeless problem does not appear to be a priority with the Board of Supervisors

(BOS) as is shown by the fact that only $143,000 has been allocated from the FY 2005-2006 general fund for the homeless and that is solely for management salaries.”

If money and/or the use of taxpayer dollars is a concern, please know that the most recent in-depth collaborative ( Orange County United Way and Jamboree) research and report on Homelessness in Orange County , conducted by David A. Snow and Rachel E. Goldberg found “…approximately $299 million was spent to address homelessness in Orange County by governmental and non-governmental entities in a 12-month period…”) however, by not ignoring Homelessness in Orange County and by following the Housing First model, placing the unhoused in permanent supportive housing found that “…10% of the chronically street homeless incur annual costs higher than $439,787 per person, whereas the most costly 10% of those in permanent supportive housing incur annual costs in excess of only $55,332.” The question is; Why does the Board of Supervisors continue to ignore the extreme and unnecessary high costs to taxpayers by not addressing and prioritizing the unhoused and housing crisis in Orange County?

By the way, according to a recent Coroner’s public records request, it’s estimated that approximately 1000 unhoused infants, children, women, and men have died while trying to survive living without abode on the streets, bushes, and shadows throughout Orange County. Taxpayers are continuing to pay over double the amount because the Board of Supervisors doesn’t have the motivation to be good, ethical, and moral stewards of taxpayer funds. This has got to stop. Too many people have died because of their neglect, the housing crisis is growing and the visible unhoused population is exploding in Orange County.

The United States, California, and most of the World has adopted the Housing First model as “the” solution to end Homelessness. Housing the unhoused population represents the fiduciary responsibility that the Board of Supervisors were elected to do and is cost effective, ethical, and moral.

Please email the Supervisors today and let them know that their ongoing and malicious neglect is contributing to the needless and unjustified deaths of hundreds of the unhoused is unacceptable and the Commission to End Homelessness needs to do their job to: “Effectively End Homelessness in Orange County.”  How many more meetings are going to be cancelled? How many more deaths will occur as a direct/indirect result of the Supervisors neglect?

·        Supervisor 1st District – Andrew Do – Chair, email: andrew.do@ocgov.com

·        Supervisor 2nd District – Katrina Foley, email: katrina.foley@ocgov.com

·        Supervisor 3rd District – Donald P. Wagner, email: donald.wagner@ocgov.com

·        Supervisor 4th District – Doug Chaffee – Vice Chair, email: doug.chaffee@ocgov.com

·        Supervisor 5th District – Lisa Bartlett, email: lisa.bartlett@ocgov.com

It seems even more appropriate that the Orange County Grand Jury Report chose to begin their summary with Mahatma Gandhi’s quote. “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” Now the question is; What can We the People do to help create positive change for the most vulnerable in Orange County? Because it is historically evident that the Board of Supervisors don’t care.

David Duran, Orange County resident since 1968. Retired after 35 years in the Golf Industry. People’s Homeless Task Force Orange County, Board Member (volunteer); Housing is a Human Right OC, Cofounder (volunteer); People’s Budget OC, Cofounder (volunteer); 2018 invited to present to the United Nations Special Rapporteur (Philip Alston) on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.

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