It’s early Wednesday morning, and Dana Point Outreach Coordinator Tamara Theodossin is walking her normal route looking for the City’s homeless population. Today, she ran into a familiar face, a man living in Doheny State Beach.
“He approached me with his wife asking for help with dental care,” said Tamara. “I’ve developed a reputation with the homeless that they can trust me, and I’m here to help.”
Tamara is part of the City’s full-time Outreach Program. Their mission is to eliminate the necessity of homelessness in Dana Point. Over the past several years, the City has implemented a collaborative outreach effort to engage homeless individuals in order to offer resources and move them into supportive services and housing. This effort includes its contract with Mercy House and its team of outreach staff in combination with the City team.
Staff from the City Manager’s Office and Public Works contracted Mercy House Outreach, Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Mental Services coordinate for weekly case management of clients. This includes assisting people with the necessary paperwork to be matched with housing resources. The City also utilizes the county’s system of care and shelters.
Currently, the City has 24 clients actively working with its outreach team. As of November, 18 individuals were successfully housed for 2019. In November alone, there were 74 interactions, including proactive connections to services and resources. Despite efforts, two clients were connected with permanent housing and declined the opportunity to be housed.
There’s no easy fix for this issue, but there is hope. Thanks to the City’s community outreach program, people like the man living in Doheny State Beach are slowly finding a way to better their lives.
After talking with that man, Tamara learned he was a veteran suffering from PTSD. “We were able to refer him to CRRC (Veterans Affairs), and we spent all morning trying to set him up with housing and medical care.”
You can contact an outreach worker by calling (949) 441-6269.
Click here to learn more about Homeless Resources in the City of Dana Point.