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RELEASE: Orange County Poised to End Veteran Homelessness - $2.9 Million Secured in 2019-20 Budget

For immediate release:

IRVINE–Today, June 12, 2019, in a historic milestone in Orange County’s commitment to end homelessness, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris presented a check for $2.9 million to the Orange County United Way to fund housing for Orange County’s veterans experiencing homelessness. Governor Gavin Newsom approved the one-time funding as part of the 2019-20 California State Budget.

“Addressing homelessness is one of my top priorities,” exclaimed Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), who serves on the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. “I am thrilled to announce that, as part of the 2019-2020 state budget, I have secured $2.9 million to partner with the Orange County United Way and our collaborative partners to end veteran homelessness in Orange County. No man or woman who bravely served our nation should be without a roof over his or her head. This crisis is shameful and we need to ensure that the Veterans who have given so much have permanent homes and supportive services. Thanks to our community’s strong commitment and support, Orange County is poised to become the second county in California to end veteran homelessness.”


The check ceremony was hosted by the OC One-Stop Center in Irvine, a facility that provides comprehensive employment and training services for youth, people with disabilities and veterans. Also speaking were Sue Parks, Orange County United Way President and CEO; Brigadier General Denton Knapp, Chair of the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative; Bobby McDonald, President and CEO of Black Chamber of OC and Chairman, Orange County Veterans Council; David Cordero, Executive Director, Apartment Association of Orange County; George Searcy, COO, Jamboree Housing; and Supervisor Don Wagner, Third District Supervisor, County of Orange.

What Others are Saying:

“The state funding secured by Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris is significant and allows us to take a huge leap forward in our collective work to end homelessness for good in Orange County. It is of vital importance to honor those who have fought for our country and to ensure they find homes for the long-term. We are proud to be working alongside the Assemblywoman, the County, and so many other leaders in Orange County to make this a reality.”

            Susan B. Parks, President and CEO, Orange County United Way


“While we continue to work together to solve homelessness in Orange County, this additional $2.9 million will further our efforts to end homelessness for veterans who selflessly served our country and defended our freedoms.”

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett


"Eight years ago, there was little funding for veterans and housing in Orange County…but now, thanks to this $2.9 million dollars from Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, Marching Home to End Veterans Homelessness in OC Campaign along with the United Way and the Apartment Association, we will have the help we need to end Veteran homelessness.  We have helped Veterans today".

Bobby McDonald, Chair of the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council 


“This is a tremendous achievement and I commend the work of Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris to get this critically needed funding to Orange County to serve our local veteran community. The men and women who bravely served our country deserve more – and this state funding gives us an opportunity to make good on that promise and ensure each and every one of them has a place to call home.”

Brigadier General Denton Knapp, Chair of the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative


“The Veterans Alliance of Orange County strongly supports Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris’ outstanding and notable effort to ensure that all the brave men and women who serve our great nation will have access to housing here in Orange County. This is the kind of leadership in Sacramento we veterans have been looking for.”

Nick Berardino, Chair, Veterans Alliance of Orange County


“The Apartment Association of Orange County and its nearly 3,000 members are steadfastly committed to providing quality rental housing for Orange County residents. We are proud to partner with Orange County United Way and United to End Homelessness to inform our members about the positive, life-changing impact they can have in bridging the housing gap for our most vulnerable populations, including those who have served our nation with honor in the military. Veteran homelessness is something that can be eliminated in Orange County and AAOC looks forward to mobilizing its members so we may help those who have served and sacrificed so much.”

David Cordero, Executive Director, Apartment Association of Orange County


“For more than 30 years, I’ve been working closely with local housing authorities to provide low-income individuals and families with a clean, safe and stable living environment where they can receive needed supportive services and live a better life. Since then I’ve never looked back. The Welcome Home OC Program is a win-win for everyone involved. It provides sound business benefits to property owners while at the same time, a rewarding opportunity to better the community by helping to end homelessness in Orange County.”

            Ernie Schroeder, President/CEO, Schroeder Property Management


“When we all work together—state representatives, local leaders and organizations, and non-profit developers—our communities and most vulnerable residents are the ones who benefit the most. We still have much work left to do, but I know that together, we will be able to end not only Veteran homelessness, but homelessness and housing insecurity for every resident in Orange County.”

            George Searcy, Chief Operating Officer, Jamboree Housing Corp.


“The Orange County Community Foundation applauds the work of Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris and our United to End Homelessness partners in securing critical funding in our efforts to end veteran homelessness. We have a longstanding commitment to our local veterans and their families through the Orange County Veterans Initiative and are thrilled to continue working together to ensure OC’s veterans have the support they need to thrive following their service to our country.”

Shelley Hoss, President, Orange County Community Foundation


“We applaud Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris’s leadership in bringing in additional resources to help end homelessness in Orange County.  Homelessness is a complex issue that demands all of us working together in a unified fashion. We congratulate the United Way, and thank them for their willingness to engage and collaborate on this most pressing issue.  We can’t wait to get to work!”

            Larry Haynes, Executive Director, Mercy House


“It’s refreshing to see our Assemblywoman partner with our community organizations and local entities to solve real problems.  As the sister of a Veteran I know firsthand the struggle.  Funding for first and last month’s rent is often the difference between stability or living on the streets, in a car, on a couch or in a park.  This funding will really help us house homeless Veterans.”

            Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley


“I’m grateful to Assemblywoman Petrie Norris for taking a bold step to end the tragedy of veteran homelessness in Orange County. It is incumbent upon each of us, especially those of us that are elected, to do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us. Welcome Home OC is an innovative approach to securing housing and a necessary part of the fabric of services that Orange County has too long lacked.” 
             Costa Mesa City Councilmember, former LT, US Navy, Andrea Marr


In January 2019, there were 312 veterans experiencing homelessness in Orange County, according to the County of Orange’s Point in Time Count. Supportive housing units for 124 veterans are under construction in Placentia and Santa Ana. The funding administered to Welcome Home OC is enough to provide apartments for the remaining 188 homeless veterans currently on our streets. Welcome Home OC streamlines the process for apartment owners, significantly shortens the time for placing homeless individuals into housing, and with service provider partners, provides for case management and supportive care to keep them in housing long term. With this one-time infusion of state funding, Welcome Home OC will now be able to actively engage property owners to accept Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers and help place homeless veterans into a home.