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For some, being homeless may be a choice, but for many, this way of life evolved from other events, like the loss of a job, a lack of family support, serious physical or mental health conditions, and/or dealing with the effects of a variety of other life events. Many communities who have a strong homeless presence are learning that often times it is simply too difficult for someone to battle an addiction or to seek employment without having permanent housing in place. In an effort to assist the individuals who hope to depart from a life of homelessness, the City continues to develop a going forward plan under the banner of Coming Home Anaheim. Our approach is to focus on developing shelters options that can provide either permanent housing or year-round shelter, coupled with various consolidated services for the individuals visiting the shelter: including access to mental health care, substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, and much more.

City Council Workshop

 Workshop- City Efforts at Combating and Preventing Homelessness
 Tuesday, April 22 at 3:00 pm

 To view the workshop online click here.



  • The homeless issue in Anaheim seems to be increasing, what is the City doing to address this growing population?

    The City has created a variety of solutions which include community education and involvement, as well as education and training for our city service teams. It is the City's goal to provide opportunities for the homeless population so they may improve their quality of life and secure the safety of our parks for nearby residents and visitors to enjoy. Here are a few of the innovative new services being implemented:

    • Police Homeless Detail – These officers are dedicated to providing compassionate enforcement while ensuring public places and business centers are safe, clean, and accessible. The detail will include new Homeless Liaisons and Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) members.
      • Homeless liaisons- These specially trained police officers will respond to service calls, and will be focused on identifying longer term solutions,- including temporary and permanent housing, drug and alcohol treatment, psychological assessment, and other intervention techniques.
      • Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) - These individuals will assist those in need by providing onsite mental health and outreach services. Additionally, the PERT team will conduct assertive follow up with the goal of developing a plan for longer term assistance.
    • Mental health training-All Anaheim police personnel will receive a four-hour block of additional special mental health training specifically designed for first responders. They will receive further training in the areas of crisis intervention, be knowledgeable about homeless services, and partner with homeless resource providers to deliver immediate street- level service to those in need.


      • Police personnel will be able to partner with various faith-based and nonprofit organizations to coordinate immediate street level assistance to those in need. These organizations include, but are not limited to:
        • Coast to Coast Foundation: A non-profit organization that provides police officers with basic necessities for the homeless such as bus passes, food, water, socks, clothing, sleeping bags, Grey Hound Bus Tickets, Amtrak tickets, food gift cards, motel vouchers, back packs, bicycles, and California ID fees.
        • City Net: A faith-based organizer of regional ministries, organizations, leaders and neighbors to provide necessities, services and opportunities for the homeless.
        • Orange County Health Care Agency – Adult Mental Health Services: A County agency that provides recovery mental health services and episodic treatment services which emphasize individual needs, strengths, choices, and involvement in service planning and implementation.

  • Where can the homeless go to protect their safety, as well as to ensure our parks are safe for residents and visitors to play?

    • The County of Orange Armory Emergency Shelter Program- provides homeless individuals with temporary emergency shelter during the winter season and offers a system of services that address physical and mental health issues, benefits, job training, placement opportunities, and other personal care needs. Read More...

      The County of Orange Armory Emergency Shelter Program (Armory Emergency Shelter) provides homeless individuals with temporary emergency shelter during the winter season and entry to the system of services and housing known as the "Continuum of Care." The Continuum of Care is designed to assist the client toward more permanent alternatives by providing rotating services to address physical and mental health issues, benefits, job training, placement opportunities, and other personal care needs. Referral services, as well as information on available resources such as transitional housing, permanent housing, and relevant support systems, are on hand at the shelter for clients.

    • La Palma Check-in Center- provides a safe location for homeless individuals and families to store their most important personal belongings while having outreach services connect them to existing services and housing programs.
    • Mercy House - refers individuals to the following services: showers, laundry service, medical care, substance abuse treatment, DMV Identification replacement, and permanent housing.
    • There are also other agencies involved in providing resources for the homeless at the check-in center, that include: clothing and sack lunches, hot meals, hygiene kits, etc.

  • What is the City doing to partner with agencies that already have shelters or resources to address homelessness?

    The City has a long standing relationship with many local agencies, including but not limited to the following:

    • Orange County Health Care Agency Mental Health Services- the County of Orange has a 10 year Strategic plan in place to address homelessness. Through the collaborative partnership, the City of Anaheim, along with the cities of Fullerton, Santa Ana, Laguna Beach and others have been awarded grant funding, obtained CDBG funding to retain a site for a Year Round Emergency Shelter and for multi-purpose centers.
    • Anaheim Poverty Task Force- comprised of faith-based organizations and local residents, this Task Force developed a Five Year Plan to End Homelessness in Anaheim. Their goals focus on finding solutions that address shelters and housing, support, and services.
    • Partnership with school districts- Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds will be used to support a new start-up program that resulted from a partnership between the Community Development Department and Anaheim Union High School District. The proposed program is modeled after the Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program, which to date has provided assistance to over 120 families in a two-year period.
    • Motel Family Collaboration- Recognizing that many of Anaheim's working poor live in motels throughout the City, a group representing more than 40 non-profit organizations, private and public agencies, including Anaheim school districts, meet monthly as a network group to maximize existing resources, and deliver services where people in need are living.

  • The City recently permitted temporary housing shelters. Why?

    The City believes it is critical to secure the public safety of our City parks and to ensure the welfare of the homeless are protected. Many residents have shared that they no longer feel it is safe to visit and play at some of the City parks. Likewise, there are health and safety concerns for the individuals that are homeless due to the environmental conditions during the cold winters and the logistics of not having a bed, running water and electricity. The addition of temporary housing solutions would help reduce these health risks.

    The City is also providing temporary housing to comply with Senate Bill (SB) 2, which requires cities and counties to establish shelter opportunity zones that would allow "by right" an organization to establish a homeless shelter in specific areas of the City (in Anaheim- these areas are in industrial zones) and to provide supportive and transitional housing in residential areas.

  • I heard that the Fullerton Armory is closing due to a lack of funding- what is the alternative option?

    The Fullerton Armory Emergency Shelter only operates during winter months and will close its current season in March or April 2014. Recognizing the need for year-round shelter, the City is working with regional agencies to establish alternative sheltering options, as well as provide consolidated services to individuals visiting the shelter.

  • Some cities have been dealing with the issue of homelessness for decades. Is the City of Anaheim exploring effective models that are being implemented by other cities?

    Most cities who are addressing homelessness have implemented a "Housing First" approach which focuses on homeless families, individuals and for people who are chronically homeless.

    Program models vary depending on the client population, availability of affordable rental housing and/or housing subsidies and services that can be provided. And while there are a wide variety of program models, Housing First programs typically include:

    • Assessment-based targeting of Housing First services
    • Assistance with locating rental housing, relationship development with private market landlords, and lease negotiation
    • Housing assistance that ranges from security deposit and one month's rent to provision of a long-term housing subsidy
    • A housing placement that is not time-limited
    • Case management to coordinate services (time-limited or long-term) that follow a housing placement

  • What resources are available to prevent at-risk individuals/families from becoming or returning to a life of homelessness?
    The City recognizes that seniors without family members and individuals with mental disabilities or physical illnesses may be at a higher risk of becoming homeless. To address this, the City created a comprehensive plan, known as the Affordable Housing Strategic plan, which provides a variety of housing options for targeted "at risk" groups. Many of these transitional housing options also offer rehabilitative and support services to the tenants. Some of these resources include:

    • Collette Children Home- housing for single women or women with children
    • Diamond Apartments- housing for individuals/families with mental disabilities
    • Tyrol Plaza- in collaboration with Anaheim Supportive Housing for Senior Adults (ASHA), focuses on meeting the housing needs of seniors previously living in motels
    • Casa Alegre- (assisting) individuals with HIV/AIDS
    • Rental housing assistance programs
      • Housing Choice Vouchers- very low income families can select their own housing option and contribute 30% to 40% of their income toward rent, and the remainder will be subsidized.
      • Section 8 housing- individuals graduating from a transitional living setting can receive a Section 8 voucher to obtain permanent housing.
    • Funding for rental housing
      • HOME Investment Partnership Program funds are available to provide up to 12 months of rental assistance for families with children who are enrolled in Anaheim schools to assist homeless families.
      • Emergency Solutions Grant funding- funding will be provided to 10 local homeless service providers who provide a variety of support services for the homeless population.
      • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)- there are some opportunities to apply these funds to address a wide range of service needs for youth, seniors, homeless individuals and families.

    In January 2014, the Anaheim City Council approved a Housing Assistance Pilot Program that establishes a partnership with the Illumination Foundation and the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) to help identify homeless children and match them with the services they need to help depart from a life of homelessness. Liaisons from the AUHSD will help identify homeless adolescents and assist them with challenges often caused by not having a steady place to live, such as providing help with the school enrollment process, personal guidance, and the rental housing needs of their families.


Resources and links

Press Releases


Homeless Resources In and Around Anaheim

Additional Resources