WelcomeHomeOC is designed to remove potential financial barriers for property owners who make apartment homes available for lease to formerly homeless individuals and families.
The Apartment Association of Orange County (AAOC), in southern California, has taken a significant step forward in its commitment to helping end homelessness in Orange County. After more than a year of collaboration, AAOC announced its formalized partnership with United to End Homelessness, a community-wide initiative empowered by Orange County United Way, at its Sept. 17 General Membership Meeting.
AAOC plans to help scale-up the countywide implementation of WelcomeHomeOC, a housing and wrap-around supportive services program. The association will focus its efforts primarily on raising awareness of the WelcomeHomeOC program within Orange County’s multifamily housing industry and growing the United to End Homelessness network of rental property owners and operators who want to play a pivotal role in ending homelessness in their own backyard.
WelcomeHomeOC is designed to remove potential financial barriers for private sector rental property owners who make apartment homes available for lease to formerly homeless individuals and families. Program benefits include signing bonuses, holding fees, security deposits, vacancy fees and more.
A 24-hour hotline and a property owner liaison will also be made available to participating property owners and managers. The program also ensures that the highest level of necessary supportive services, led by a dedicated case manager, is provided for residents. This private-sector solution has been key to significantly reducing homelessness in other communities throughout the U.S. and will be critical to helping end homelessness in Orange County.
AAOC says WelcomeHomeOC is a key part of the solution to ending homelessness in Orange County. The program is a collaborative effort between Orange County United Way and service providers, local housing authorities and private market rental property owners and operators to open the doors to critically needed housing apartment homes for homeless individuals with housing vouchers. These individuals have vouchers to assist with rental costs and have the backing of the United to End Homelessness WelcomeHomeOC program to cover additional supportive costs like holding fees, security deposits and new furnishings. WelcomeHomeOC also ensures that each program resident receives the supportive case-management they need to get back on their feet and remain stably housed.
“There are currently about 6,860 homeless individuals in Orange County—including 311 U.S. Veterans,” David Cordero, Executive Director, AAAOC told an audience of more than 200 members in attendance at the association’s Sept. 17 General Membership Meeting. “Many of these individuals, including 80 Veterans, have qualified for housing vouchers but cannot find a place to live. There simply are not enough rental units in Orange County, where the housing vouchers are accepted for payment. This is where AAOC comes into play and where its members can make a difference.”
Those present at the event included Lawrence R. Armstrong, United to End Homelessness Leadership Council Chairman and Ware Malcomb CEO, and Susan B. Parks, Orange County United Way President and CEO. In her opening remarks, Parks stated that, “With the partnership from the Apartment Association of Orange County, we will be able to significantly scale up the WelcomeHomeOC program—making available thousands of additional rental units and support services for Orange County’s homeless population.” To date, the WelcomeHomeOC program has housed 70 individuals in 49 households.
The meeting program concluded with AAOC recognizing seven of its members as inaugural “WelcomeHomeOC Housing Champions,” for their early commitment to ending homelessness in Orange County by signing up as housing provider partners. Due to the interest generated at the event, AAOC has since arranged quarterly WelcomeHomeOC Education and Engagement Workshops for property owners to come and learn more about the program. The October workshop drew more than 20 apartment professionals.
To learn more about the WelcomeHomeOC program, please visit www.welcomehomeoc.org.