Creating Solutions for Our Homeless Neighbors
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Ongoing community support is vital to the success of the Bright Paths program. Volunteers and donations are always welcome and will help ensure the program continues long-term. If you are interested in being involved, or can provide a much-needed resource to help the homeless, please contact us at email@example.com. Together, we can make a positive impact.
Homelessness has become an increasing problem in Buena Park, as well as other areas of Orange County. The City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Orange County. Currently, transient individuals and their belongings can be seen in several city parks and private properties, particularly along Beach Boulevard. By having a program in place to help the homeless off the street, the aesthetics in these areas will be greatly improved. Interaction between transients and tourists, residents and business owners will be reduced, increasing walkability and safety throughout the City.
In late-2015, the City Council moved forward with creating a strategic, comprehensive plan to undertake the issue of homelessness in the community. Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Swift and Council Member Virginia Vaughn were appointed to serve on the newly created Homelessness Ad Hoc Committee to examine homelessness, as well as identify resources, programs, and partnerships that could assist homeless individuals with graduating from the street and into permanent housing.
After months of research, a Homelessness Workshop was held on March 1, 2016, and included presentations by two nationally-renown consultants, who spoke about the multi-faceted causations of homelessness and the challenges of graduating homeless individuals off the street. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Council approved an action plan with various steps to decreasing homelessness in the City:
- Conduct a Buena Park homeless census
- Engage community members
- Provide two dedicated police liaison officers
- Connect with businesses and faith-based organizations
- Address stolen shopping carts
Bright Paths assists the homeless in becoming an independent and functioning member of the community by providing the necessary resources, such as temporary housing, rehabilitation programs and general assistance, to take the first step of graduating from the streets. In addition, the program provides the tools to educate local residents, businesses, and faith-based organizations about homelessness and the resources readily available to empower these groups to help decrease homelessness in their neighborhoods.
The desired outcome of the program is to reduce crime rates for burglaries, trespassing, drug-related crimes and other misdemeanors, as well as reduce calls-for-services related to homelessness. An early 2016 report showed that calls-for-service related to homelessness increased more than 100% from the previous year. With the potential decrease in calls-for-service, emergency responders can assist the community with other pending issues.
News Releases -
- Buena Park City Council Moves Forward with Homeless Plan
- Buena Park City Council Approves Plan for Addressing Homelessness