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Low Income Families & Portable Air Conditioners in Orange County
Homelessness is a problem in Orange County. Nearly 300,000 children in California experience homelessness per year. In Orange County nearly 22,000 children are considered homeless. 441 live in shelters, 20,549 double/triple up housing, 143 are unsheltered, and 892 live in hotels/motels.
Orange County has been awarded over $169.9 million in SuperNOFA Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Grant funds from 1996-2012 to help with the homelessness problem.
All proceeds received go to the Commission to End Homelessness program. According to the OC Housing & Community Development, this is the product of both integrated community collaboration and established regional goals and strategies necessary to end homelessness over the next decade.
The 10 Year Plan and How it Works
All elements of the plan based on mission, vision, and set of core values.
- Mission: Effectively end homelessness in Orange County over the next decade.
- Vision: A dynamic, comprehensive system of housing and services, proportionate to the need, which effectively ends homelessness.
- Core Values: Preservation of human dignity, a safe, decent, sanitary housing opportunity for everyone, innovation, courage, expectation of success
Each community must report progress and be consistent with State and Federal initiatives for ending homelessness. For them a person is homeless when "he or she lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and sleeps in a variety of places not fit for human habitation."
The primary sources of data for homelessness in Orange County are the Point-in-Time Homeless Count Survey and the Homeless management Information System. According to the 2011 census and survey:
- 63% of homeless were male and 37% were female
- 77% were between the ages of 31-60 years old
- Over 77% were recently homeless
- 62% were unsheltered
- 39% cited jobless as the primary reason for homelessness
- 17% cited alcohol/drug use as the cause
- 49% had been homeless for less than a year
- 83% were homeless only one time in the past year
- 24% had a physical disability in 2011
- 20% had a mental illness
- 25% were experiencing chronic health problems
- 33% were currently using drugs or alcohol
One of the biggest challenges this program faces is the cost of living and the overwhelming population Orange County has. In 2008, the population reached 3.1 million. The median income to meet rental standards must be $29.73 an hour. Fair market rent in Orange County is $1,546.00. This is difficult for even the employed to meet, and even more so for the homeless plan.
One of the primary shelters in the Orange County area is the Orange County Rescue Mission. Their mission is to "Minister the love of Jesus Christ to the Least, the Last, and the Lost." For this group it's about feeding, clothing, sheltering, healing and empowering those through the love of Christ.
- The number of meals served per month: 128,392
- Meals served per day: 4,280
- Meals served last year: 1,540,704
Other great places to turn to for help:
- The Salvation Army: Provides temporary housing, food, and clothing to those in need.
- Gospel Rescue Missions: Helps people in need, including homeless services.
- Feeding America: One of the largest hunger relief charities in the country provides food assistance to those in need.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: Specifically focused to help homeless veterans.
- Snagajob.com: Biggest job site for part-time and full-time hourly employment.
- Intelius.com: Helps people across the country reconnect with family and friends that have lost touch.
Obtaining Food for the Homeless and the Needy
The Orange County Food Bank distributes nearly 20 million pounds of food annually. It's located in a 35,000 sq. ft. warehouse which includes a huge commercial refrigerator and freezer that's capable of transporting over 20 truck loads if perishable foods.
- CSFP or Commodity Supplemental Food Program that provides food supplements to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, their infants, children up to age six, and the elderly ages 60 or more.
- Food Stamp Outreach Program helps people on a limited budget buy nutritious food.
- Farm 2 Kids program provides fresh produce to low-income children to avert hunger and prevent obesity in school and after school programs. This program promoted the benefits of healthy eating.
Proper Living Conditions, Heating, and Cooling
Part of proper living is finding a place that's healthy, mindful of comfortable living, and meets what Orange County Housing Authority deems reasonable accommodations. Accommodations should provide the resident with a decent, safe, and sanitary place to live. There should be no infestations of any kind, safety measures in place like smoke alarms and plenty of ventilation. In many cases, this doesn't include proper heating and cooling.
Studies show that between 1999 and 2010 there were 7,415 deaths in the US related to excessive heat exposure. Similar studies also show that between the years 1999 and 2010 there were 336 deaths due to extreme cold.
Types of portable air conditioners Orange County residents need are the easy to vent, eco-friendly kind. For low-income individuals, including the elderly living on SSI, this is vital. They need to stay cool when necessary but can't afford large electric bills. Most units are small and personal so they provide just enough cooling for an individual area. They can be extremely efficient and coupled with a fan, provide effective cooling.
As seasons change, the concern is to remain warm to stay healthy. A personal space heater can help you maintain a comfortable environment and ward off potential illness. Load up on winter clothing, blankets, and warm hats. Coupled with a space heater, you can control indoor temperatures.
If you're chronically ill, it's almost necessary to have a living space that's comfortable to ward off any potential risks.