BRIGHT PATHS PROGRAM CONTINUES OUTREACH EFFORTS TO PLACE HOMELESS NEIGHBORS INTO SAFE HOUSING
Participants provided with resources to help them gain independence
Buena Park, Calif. — Since April 2016, the staff and volunteers of the city’s Bright Paths program have been reaching out to Buena Park’s homeless neighbors, residents, and businesses to provide the needed assistance and resources to those impacted by homelessness. To date, the program has made contact with 286 homeless individuals and has placed 63 clients into temporary and permanent housing while connecting them with the resources to help them ultimately gain their independence. The program has a 97 percent retention rate of individuals who have been placed into safe housing options.
“We are pleased with the program’s accomplishments and the positive impact it’s had on the community so far, and we will continue our work to further help others in need,” said Mayor Elizabeth Swift, who lead the effort to create the Bright Paths program along with the City Council. “My Christian faith is just one of the factors which motivates me on this issue. Homelessness has personally touched my family and I will do everything I can to help others who struggle.”
The program’s Homeless Outreach Team visits locations throughout the city, including parks, bus benches, railroad tracks, community centers and faith-based agencies that provide meals and services to the homeless.
“During a recent outreach visit to a local church, our team encountered a senior couple who had become homeless after encountering health issues,” said Director of Programs for City Net Gigi Zanganeh, a partner to the city’s Bright Paths program. “The couple turned to Bright Paths to help them identify affordable housing based on their social security benefits. Our team helped place the couple into a low-income senior apartment and Bright Paths, along with the Eastside Christian Church, provided the funds for the couple’s housing deposit and move-in costs.”
Pastor Doug Scholten of the Christ Community Church in Buena Park adds that the Bright Paths program provides the platform needed to coordinate efforts and resources between the city and local faith-based agencies. “Bright Paths does a great job of bringing all sectors in the city, including faith-based groups, to the conversation to help serve our homeless neighbors. As a local church, with collaboration as a high-priority, we are always excited to be part of the solution and help those experiencing homelessness take steps forward,” said Pastor Scholten.
Other recent placements by the Bright Paths program include:
- A homeless veteran moved into her own apartment last month after Bright Paths worked with the VA to get the required documentation she needed to be placement into permanent supportive housing. Bright Paths staff spoke with her recently, and she now has a part-time job.
- Bright Paths helped connect a 21-year-old male, who had been staying at a local church, to “Build Futures,” a program focused on homeless youth. He now has a safe home and a full-time job offer.
- Through the County of Orange’s Coordinated Entry System, the Bright Paths Homeless Outreach Team was able to assess a couple who had been living at Peak Park for the past two years. In December 2016, the couple was matched to a permanent supportive housing opportunity with the Illumination Foundation. The couple now live in a safe shared housing program and they are receiving supportive services through the Street2Home Collaborative.
About Bright Paths
Bright Paths assists the homeless in becoming an independent and functioning member of the community by providing the necessary resources to take the step of graduating from the streets and into permanent housing. The program also provides the tools to educate local residents, businesses, and faith-based organizations about homelessness and the resources available to empower these groups to help decrease homelessness in their neighborhoods. For more information, or to learn how to get involved, visit www.buenapark.com/brightpaths.