MOORLACH UPDATE — Reflection on Achievements — December 9, 2018

When I was the Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector and a County Supervisor, I would notify those receiving my UPDATE to be sure to pay their property taxes on time. Tomorrow, December 10th, is the deadline for the first installment. Paying it after this date results in a 10 percent penalty. If you have not paid your property tax bill, please get your payment postmarked today or Monday (if you wish to pay online, go to http://tax.o,

Now, on to some fun news from this very busy year. It’s about a few attaboys.

As you may recall, in 2017–I was recognized by the Apartment Association of Orange County as their Legislator of the Year (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Attaboy — January 22, 2018).

This year, on September 22nd, the California Psychiatric Association presented me with their 2018 Award of Appreciation. The beautiful plaque reads: “Who Stands out as a Mental Health Champion in the California Legislature and is Held in High Esteem by the Members of the California Psychiatric Association who Fully Appreciate the Significance of his Leadership.”

One of the many accomplishments was SB 1363 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 448 and SB 1363 — September 12, 2018). Another was SB 1206, which resulted in this November’s most successful ballot measure, Proposition 2 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Joint Author Details — July 7, 2018).

On October 20th, the Alliance of California Judges recognized me as the Legislator of the Year for 2018. This was for my efforts on SB 656 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 656, 905, 174 and AB 3129 — September 30, 2018).

And, on November 28th, at the 8th Annual “Turning Red Tape Into Red Carpet” I was presented with the 2018 Leadership in Public Service Award by the Orange County Business Council. OCBC recognized our work on AB 448 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — AB 448 and SB 1363 — September 12, 2018). Their press release is provided by MarketWatch and the pertinent segment is the piece below.

One of my fellow Leadership in Public Service Award recipients, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, provides an editorial submission to the OC Register on what has been accomplished this year on the homelessness front in the second piece below. As 2018 comes to a close, it is good to reflect back on what has been accomplished in the OC by the collaboration of many for the benefit of the least, the last, and the lost.

OCBC Honors Government Agencies Cutting Red Tape In 8th Annual “Turning Red Tape Into Red Carpet” Awards

Local Leaders Tackling Homelessness: The Honorable Andrew Do, Orange County Supervisor 1 [st] District; The Honorable Jennifer Fitzgerald, Fullerton City Council Member; Dan Young, Camino Enterprises

Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors Andrew Do, Fullerton Councilmember Jennifer Fitzgerald (and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Association of California Cities—Orange County) and Dan Young played crucial roles in developing solutions to Orange County’s pervasive homelessness epidemic. Supervisor Do and Mr. Young spearheaded the purchasing of a 44,500 square foot building that will be used to provide supportive housing. Councilmember Fitzgerald was instrumental in advocating for a ACC-OC sponsored legislation to establish a public agency/joint powers housing trust, AB 448–Orange County Housing Finance Trust—to accept public and private funding for projects to end homelessness.

State Leaders Tackling Homelessness: The Honorable Tom Daly, Assemblymember 69 [th] District; The Honorable Sharon Quirk-Silva, Assemblymember 65 [th] District; The Honorable John Moorlach, Assemblymember 37 [th] District; The Honorable Patricia Bates: Assemblymember 36 [th] District

Assemblymembers Tom Daly and Sharon Quirk-Silva authored AB 448, a landmark bill that established the Orange County Housing Finance Trust to receive a mix of public and private funding to develop 2,700 units of permanent supportive housing that fit into the County’s comprehensive system of wrap-around services for homelessness prevention. Senators John Moorlach and Pat Bates vigorously pushed the legislation through the Senate, demonstrating unifying bipartisan support. AB 448 passed both chambers without a single opposition vote, a testament to AB 448’s common-sense solutions and unifying properties.


In 2018, Orange County achieved meaningful progress on homelessness


It has been a year of momentous change for Orange County.

We started the year transitioning more than 1,000 people out of two major homeless encampments. Now, we end the year with plans to build 2,700 units of supportive housing for the neediest in our communities and expand the number of emergency shelters and support services. In 2018, we took significant steps to build out a system of integrated services that are designed to help people transition permanently out of homelessness.

During this season of charity, it is appropriate that we reflect on the lessons we have learned, with the hope that we can build on those lessons to be even more effective in dealing with the national crisis of homelessness.

After almost four years of leading these efforts in the county, I know the most meaningful shift for Orange County has been our approach to combating homelessness.

When the year began, many homeless advocates questioned whether enough resources were reaching those in need. For far too long Orange County had been slow, reactive and far too restrained in our response to the problem. Shortly after taking over as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, I acknowledged the county’s failures and promised a new direction.

Now, we are working together across county departments, and with cities, breaking down bureaucratic silos that inhibit access to service. We are also welcoming support from local, state, federal, and non-profit partners.

Our new direction is backed by a substantial commitment of resources across a burgeoning system of care. Thus far, in 2018, Orange County has allocated more than $189 million toward homeless-related programs. In March, the Board of Supervisors approved $70.5 million in state Mental Health Services Act funds to house homeless people living with mental illness in supportive housing programs. It was “the single largest appropriation ever committed by the County to fight homelessness” and propelled 259 new mental health and special needs housing units currently in progress.

To meet our immediate shelter needs, we supplemented the county’s Courtyard homeless shelter in Santa Ana by extending the emergency shelters at two National Guard Armories in Santa Ana and Fullerton and adding capacity at SAFEPlace women’s shelter, American Family Housing shelter for couples, and Bridges at Kraemer Place shelter.

In addition to emergency shelter programs, we have invested $26 million to build the first county-owned mental health facility. The 44,556-square-foot facility will allow individuals to get help in one place — accessing emergency mental health crisis stabilization, drug abuse treatment, and residential psychiatric care. We also approved $2.4 million for recovery residence service to provide safe and drug-free housing for those seeking to get clean.

To create more housing in the short term, we are piloting new projects to encourage private landlords to make units available to rent to homeless individuals by providing them with financial protection. The county contributed $250,000 in seed funding to support the Orange County United Way’s Landlord Incentive program. Over the next year, the pilot project will provide as many as 55 housing placements by removing financial barriers, such as providing application expense reimbursement, security deposits, damage claims assistance, etc., which inhibit access to stable housing.

Orange County has also recognized the importance of linking people to supportive services. More than $5.4 million has been committed toward a multi-service center. Operated by the Mental Health Association of Orange County, the program connects homeless mentally ill adults with behavioral health assessment, counseling, hygiene kits, and provides transportation to reach necessary behavioral health and medical services.

Just as important as coordinating services, our community is embracing cooperation among local, state and federal governments to create more permanent supportive housing as part of our long-term solution. The County of Orange and the Association of California Cities-Orange County co-sponsored Assembly Bill 448, which enabled the creation of the Orange County Housing Finance Trust. Orange County Senators John Moorlach and Pat Bates with Assemblymembers Sharon Quirk-Silva and Tom Daly fast tracked the bill, which will provide hundreds of millions of dollars in public and private funding to develop affordable and supportive housing for both working families and those who are homeless. We are also working with the business community and philanthropic leaders to supplement public funds with private donations.

Cities have contributed, too. The Santa Ana City Council recently expedited the building of a new temporary 200-bed homeless shelter, called the Link Shelter. The cities of Anaheim and Orange, along with others are working on shelter and mental health facilities, which should come on line in the near future.

We haven’t solved the problem. There’s still more work to be done. Thousands of individuals lack a safe place to sleep every night, and tens of thousands more are a paycheck away from losing their homes. But for the first time in decades, Orange County has developed a responsible path forward and comprehensive approach to combating this national problem.

Andrew Do is Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.


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