Thursday, November 7, 2019


ORANGE COUNTY, CA – Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (Fullerton) hosted the first hearing of the Assembly Select Committee on Orange County Chronic Homelessness at the Buena Park City Council Chambers. Approximately 125 people attended the hearing to discuss the growing concerns about chronic homelessness in Orange County, including representatives of county agencies; city governments and law enforcement; homeless advocates; members of nonprofit organizations; and other constituents.

“I sought to create the Select Committee with my colleagues to identify opportunities to strengthen on going working relationships between advocates, non-profits, the private sector, as well as local and state government, to combat Orange County’s chronic homeless population,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “The goal of this hearing is to focus on the progress that the region has made over the last year, what we need to continue to work on, and the role each of us play.”

The meeting revolved around two panel discussions – one on innovative strategies to address homelessness and another on urging every city to do its part to help homeless people. Chronic homelessness has been a growing epidemic in Orange County, as many of the panelists addressed their work on resolutions to these crisis concerns.

Michele Martinez, former Mayor Pro Tem of Santa Ana stated, “Much of that is so-called ‘one-time’ funding, meaning cities can’t use it for long-term projects. Cities cannot sustain the shelters with one-time funding.”

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (Bell Gardens), whose 58th District borders Orange County, and includes the City of Bellflower, which earlier this year became the first Los Angeles County city to join Orange County communities that have agreed to open emergency shelters to settle a homeless civil rights lawsuit in federal court. “We must address this crisis holistically, beyond emergency housing measures, to provide permanent, affordable housing statewide,” said Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (Bell Gardens). “This is a statewide problem and our solutions must embrace the innovative spirit of the Golden State to provide state resources and garner federal support to enable local community action strategies.”

The hearing was well attended and offered many advocates and local and state officials an opportunity to participate in how all parties can be dedicated and collaborate to help those who lack safe, stable and appropriate places to live in Orange County.