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Addressing the Issue of Homelessness in Orange County

Irvine is one of thirty-four cities in Orange County — and our County Board of Supervisors is responsible for addressing homelessness and many other social challenges faced by people who live throughout the county. We are, by any measure, a fortunate community. From “Safest City in America” to one of the “Best Cities to Live In,” we have much to be proud of. But like all communities, our residents face the adverse impacts of social challenges — from homelessness and addiction, to mental illness and suicide. Even students at UCI are finding themselves accessing the on-campus food pantry and sleeping in their cars due to economic hardship. This is a serious matter. As leaders, we must acknowledge these challenges rather than turning a blind eye or burying our heads in the sand. 

I am not an advocate of tent cities being created throughout Orange County and opposed the action of the Orange County Board of Supervisors when they sought to create such an installation at the Great Park. That said, as an active volunteer and leader in a compassionate interfaith community, I have seen first hand the consequences of neglecting to address the issue of homelessness in a responsible manner. Orange County leaders must all be at the table crafting solutions that are humane and focused on the distinct but interrelated needs of this population. County funds must be targeted at the most vulnerable as well as those who might more rapidly be rehoused and returned to self-sufficiency.  This will take a collaborative approach, involving county and city leaders, social service agencies, law enforcement and the non-profit community.

That being said, we are at a junction where if we don’t take a leadership role now, we will be handed a judgement that may not be favorable for us.

Committee to Elect Farrah N. Khan for Irvine City Council 2018 FPPC #1379227
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