How it works and why Laguna Beach needs it

Permanent Supportive Housing

Permanent Supportive Housing is a widely-accepted national best-practice in homeless services. It greatly reduces the harm homeless people experience through their lives on the street, and significantly reduces the cost of homelessness for the community. Friendship Shelter believes that Permanent Supportive Housing is a logical extension of its current work and a way to expand services to people in need.

By its very nature Permanent Supportive Housing ends homelessness for its residents. The approach provides safe and reliable housing with on-site supportive services for homeless people who are unable to support themselves through work due to a disability. This model saves community resources by limiting the need for emergency medical care and law enforcement response. Similar programs have been shown to reduce such public costs by as much as 2/3. In addition to that expected savings, our proposal saves the City of Laguna Beach $150,000 in direct costs currently spent on operating the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL).

We envision an apartment community on the site of the current ASL that incorporates a permanent emergency shelter in addition to 40 furnished efficiency apartments and one manager’s unit. Onsite services will be provided by Friendship Shelter staff as well as community partners to meet the unique needs of each resident, who will pay a fixed percentage (typically one-third) of his or her income toward rent. We expect to fund the program from a combination of government and private sources.

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Make your voice heard!

Make your voice heard! Please add your name to the growing list of community members who support our Permanent Supportive Housing proposal. Together, we will compassionately end the cycle of homelessness in our community.

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Latest Signatures:
Thomas Kish , Thomas Kish, Thomas Kish, Rickie Scott, Rickie Scott, Irma Langlois, Irma Langlois, Irma Langlois, Judy Anderson, Judy Anderson

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Answers to all your important questions

FAQ

What is Permanent Supportive Housing and who would live there?
We believe that Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is a forward-thinking, innovative solution to homelessness. As a nationally recognized best-practice in homeless services, PSH meets the unique needs of its clients through the combination of housing and onsite supportive services. Organizations including the Corporation for Supportive Housing, National Alliance to End Homelessness, and 100,000 Homes have found great success using this approach across the country, and credit it with creating stronger and healthier communities.

PSH residents are people who are chronically homeless (meaning they have been homeless for a year or longer, or they have experienced four episodes of homelessness in the past three years) with a disability including mental or physical health conditions, as well as people with disabling substance abuse or dependence. Residents who qualify for this program cannot live independently without ongoing supportive services, and also meet state and federal requirements. Residents pay a portion of the income they receive from Social Security, Disability, or other sources toward rental payments.

Our proposal is different from similar Supportive Housing communities because of the existing emergency homeless shelter, the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL). The ASL is a City of Laguna Beach program that is managed by the Friendship Shelter. Our proposal includes the addition of a permanent emergency shelter, and will continue to be managed by our Friendship Shelter staff.

How will our community benefit from Permanent Supportive Housing?
Our community will see immediate positive changes once Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is implemented in Laguna Canyon, as well as long-term benefits.

Studies and experience in other communities show that when disabled homeless people’s basic needs are met first, and they are approached with respect and compassion, most will take the steps to begin rebuilding their lives. Research shows that over time, people are more likely to address their underlying problems and reasons for homelessness once they have stable housing and access to supportive services.

Permanent Supportive Housing makes good economic sense.  PSH models similar to our proposal have been proven to show significant cost savings for taxpayers through a reduced need for public systems. Homeless peoples’ use of hospitals, emergency response systems, jails, police, and courts costs the public thousands of dollars each month – costs which will be eliminated once these individuals are housed. What’s more, one night’s stay in a hospital can cost as much or more as one month of rent for one homeless person.

Our proposal will also have a positive economic impact for the City of Laguna Beach. The City would save $150,000 each year through the elimination of the rental, utility and other associated costs of the portable Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL).

What's the difference between this proposal and the programs Friendship Shelter already provides?
Our Permanent Supportive Housing proposal is a housing solution for our community’s most vulnerable homeless population. Residents will live in a safe, secure – and permanent – apartment, where they can work with case managers to begin rebuilding their lives.

This new proposal will add a program to the three programs Friendship Shelter currently operates:  the Self-Sufficiency program, the Alternative Sleeping Location, and our newly launched Scattered-Site Supportive Housing program.

Our Self-Sufficiency program on Coast Highway is a rehabilitative shelter program for a fixed length of stay, not permanent housing.  That program is intended for people who can rehabilitate rather swiftly and return to mainstream life, usually through employment.  The Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) in Laguna Canyon is operated by Friendship Shelter on behalf of the City of Laguna Beach, and is a currently housed in temporary buildings.

The Scattered-Site Supportive Housing Program in South Orange County houses clients with a roommate in a two bedroom apartment, and gives them access to supportive services to ensure a successful arrangement. As with all Supportive Housing programs, these residents are chronically homeless and challenged by a disabling condition. There is currently funding, made possible by a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to house 18 adults. Later this year, this grant and state funding from the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) will make it possible for Friendship Shelter to house 14 homeless, disabled transitional aged youth (ages 18-25) in Friendship Shelter’s Henderson House in San Clemente.

We believe this new Permanent Supportive Housing proposal is a logical extension of our current work, and a way to reach the people most in need in our community.

Who are the originators of this proposal?
This proposal is a partnership between Friendship Shelter and Jamboree Housing.

Friendship Shelter has successfully served thousands of clients in our community for the past 25 years, manages the ASL on behalf of the City of Laguna Beach, and the newly launched Scattered-Site Supportive Housing program. Since 1990, Jamboree Housing has created opportunities for lower income families, seniors, and those with special needs by providing housing that includes programs and services essential to improving the quality of their residents’ lives.

Will this proposed development affect the neighboring dog park and Pacific Marine Mammal Center?
No, our proposal does not include using any land currently used by either the dog park or the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. We are confident that we will be able to successfully develop the Permanent Supportive Housing community we envision on the current site of the Alternative Sleeping Location without disrupting neighbors on either side.

At the City’s unusual request, the property was conceptually staked to show the boundaries of our proposed development. Upon the staking, there were some concerns raised by the Pacific Marine Mammal Center about the proximity to their property. We are confident that we can address those issues and are committed to working together to reach an agreeable outcome for all neighbors who may be affected by this proposal.

Some have expressed concern that this development will be a magnet that attracts more homeless people to our community. Will that be the case?
There is no evidence that supportive services, such as the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) or Permanent Supportive Housing, attract homeless people from other communities. Because our proposal is for permanent housing – and not additional shelter – the units will immediately fill and turnover will be very low, creating no incentive to move into this community to access this service.

Statistical data from the ASL has shown no measurable increase in the number of homeless people accessing its services since it opened nearly five years ago. Further, the ASL serves fewer people today than when it opened. And, just this past April when the cold weather shelters closed in Santa Ana and Fullerton for the year, we saw the identical number of homeless people at the ASL as when those shelters – and the 400 beds they had available — were open.

Neither Friendship Shelter nor Jamboree Housing has seen an increase of homeless people in the area of any properties offering services. Homeless people, like anyone else, don’t leave what’s familiar to them to move into a new community for services alone.

Permanent Supportive Housing will mean safe and stable housing – with wraparound supportive services – for 40 of our community’s most vulnerable homeless people, reducing their presence downtown, in parks, and on beaches.

How will the current residents of Laguna Canyon be affected by this proposal?
We are confident that we will see measurable improvements throughout our community when 40 chronically homeless, disabled people who currently live in our streets are housed. Because they will have a safe, stable and permanent home, we anticipate a marked reduction in homeless people in the canyon neighborhoods, and the behavior of our tenants will be regulatedby highly qualified, trained case managers.

Though we are very proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish at the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) over the past four years, we are aware of the issues that have been raised by some Canyon neighbors and share their frustration at some of the disruptive and unruly actions associated with a handful of the clients who use its services.

Currently, we do not have daytime staff on site to manage the parking lot of the ASL. Permanent site control will make the property private, rather than public, and provide us with additional authority to regulate behavior on the site. And, with the addition of an onsite manager, and regular case management by our staff, we are confident that the understandably high standards of the neighborhood will be met.

A similar program in Portland, Maine, saw an 81% drop in police calls associated with the homeless people that were housed. By reducing the police calls associated with very vulnerable homeless people, we can repurpose police services for a variety of other community needs, including responding to disruptive people, both homeless and otherwise. The same program showed that formerly homeless people who were housed went on to become the best (and unlikeliest) stewards of their community. They were approached with respect and compassion, grew very proud of their new home, and took steps to protect it. We are certain that we’ll see similar results with this proposed development.

How will this proposal be funded?
This proposal will be funded by a combination of private, federal, state, and county sources. This development will not affect Laguna Beach taxpayers in any way. In fact, it will save the City of Laguna Beach $150,000 annually through a reduction in the cost of the Alternative Sleeping Location, and thousands of tax payer dollars each month through a reduced need for public systems including emergency room visits, police calls, and jail time.
Will this be a sober living program?
No illegal drug use will be tolerated on site, but this is not a rehabilitation program or sober living facility. In practice, then, residents will be permitted to use alcohol and legally prescribed drugs just as any tenant in private housing. We recognize and expect that addiction is an issue for many chronically homeless individuals, and we have developed, over 26 years, expertise in helping addicts get sober. Therefore, all residents will have access to supportive services and will work with our case managers to rebuild their lives. Experience at other similar programs shows that once safely housed, many people with addiction issues will address those problems.
Will sex offenders be allowed to live there?
No.
What supportive services will be available to residents?
We anticipate that a trained, qualified staff will work with residents on a variety of issues they face and will include individual case management, mental health services, substance abuse services, independent living skills, and medical services.
Why start in Laguna Beach, and will other Orange County cities implement programs like this?
While other cities across the country, and some in California, have adopted the Permanent Supportive Housing model, we believe Laguna Beach will be one of the smallest communities to address homelessness in this way.

Our Permanent Supportive Housing proposal responds directly to our community’s need. Laguna Beach’s homeless population is roughly 0.8% of the total Orange County homeless population, and based on the latest Point in Time count, that breaks down to 67 homeless individuals in Laguna Beach at any given time.

Further, Laguna Beach’s homeless population is somewhat unique, and that fact demands a unique solution.  While the vast majority of homeless people nationwide are families with children and the working poor, our local homeless population is largely made up of chronically homeless people – single individuals who suffer some form of mental illness, disabling condition, or a combination thereof.

It’s our community’s style to provide regional leadership on human services issues. In this case, Laguna Beach has the opportunity to be a county-wide, regional, and national leader by providing a creative, collaborative, forward-thinking solution that can be a model for other small cities.

What will this development look like?
Since we are still in the conceptual planning stage, we don’t yet know what the development will look like. However, here is the preliminary floor plan for these approximately 350 square foot units.
Unit Floor Plan
I have a question that I don't see here!
We want to hear from you! If you have a question for the Friendship Shelter about the Permanent Supportive Housing proposal, email us and a staff member will respond shortly.

Find out the latest supportive housing news & resources

Friends of Supportive Housing Nationwide

Permanent Supportive Housing has been a proven and innovative solution to improve the lives of homeless people, and the communities in which they live, across the country. Please visit these organizations doing similar work, and read some of the success stories here:

Learn more about the Friendship Shelter and our mission!

About Us

The Laguna Beach Permanent Supportive Housing proposal is a partnership between Friendship Shelter and Jamboree Housing.

For over 25 years, Friendship Shelter has helped homeless adults achieve self-sufficiency and become more productive members of our community. Every night, 100 homeless people sleep safe, warm, and cared for in a Friendship Shelter program. Since 1988, more than 7,000 people have participated in a Friendship Shelter program, and its volunteers and supporters have served over 31,000 meals. For more information on Friendship Shelter, and to meet some of the people who have walked through its doors, please visit: http://www.friendshipshelter.org/video.php and view the 25th Anniversary Celebration video, or read a feature from Laguna Beach Magazine .

Friendship Shelter recently launched a Scattered-Site Supportive Housing program in South Orange County. Residents live with a roommate in a two bedroom apartment, and work with case managers to ensure a successful arrangement. As with all Supportive Housing programs, these residents are chronically homeless and challenged by a disabling condition. There is currently funding, made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to house 18 adults. Later this year, this grant and state funding from the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) will make it possible for Friendship Shelter to house 14 homeless, disabled transitional aged youth (ages 18-25) in Friendship Shelter’s Henderson House in San Clemente.

Jamboree Housing strengthens California’s communities by creating opportunities for lower income families, seniors, and those with special needs. They create housing that is affordable, with resident services that are responsive and programs that are essential to improving the quality of their residents’ lives. Since 1990, Jamboree has experienced steady growth and includes development and/or ownership of nearly 7,000 affordable homes throughout California. Jamboree has built and rehabilitated 55 apartments for previously homeless adults living with mental illness, more about: Jamboree Housing Communities.