Garden Grove to Determine Effects of COVID-19 on Homelessness

Garden Grove to Determine Effects of COVID-19 on Homelessness
A homeless encampment made of tents and tarps lines the Santa Ana riverbed near Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 25, 2018. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)
Drew Van Voorhis

The Garden Grove city council approved a proclamation during its Jan. 26 city council meeting that will seek to determine the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the city’s homeless population.

“As uncertainty of the economy, unemployment, and housing instability compounded with the public health emergency due to the COVID pandemic persists, it is important to bring awareness of current efforts and seek public input about homelessness in Garden Grove to help guide long-term priorities of post-COVID recovery,” the council agenda says.

The motion will result in a robust community engagement process to utilize the city’s existing homeless resources, share information about preventing homelessness, and use outreach programs to support individuals and families impacted by the virus.

Part of the process will include an upcoming series of virtual meetings and webinars from various community partners.

This is not the first time Garden Grove has worked to better understand its homeless population. In 2019, council held a study session to discuss an overview of homeless activities and resources deployed to address challenges of homelessness according to Orange County’s 2019 Point in Time count, a report on data of homeless people.

Since the study session, the city has expanded a number of different items for its homeless programs. These include prioritizing public safety and street outreach with a special resources team by expanding from two officers to four, funding a program to collect data for an interactive dashboard, creating an emergency solutions grant toward homeless prevention, expanding the city’s hot meal programs to seniors, individuals, and families impacted by COVID-19, and more.

As of 2019, Garden Grove had a homeless population of 225, according to the latest Point in Time count.

As part of the draft comprehensive strategic plan to address homelessness that was addressed Jan. 26, the agenda lists five goals for the plan: develop community engagement efforts around homelessness, expand homelessness prevention efforts, enhance data tracking and homeless outreach, explore options for emergency housing, and increased access for affordable housing.

Drew Van Voorhis is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. He has been a journalist for six years, during which time he has broken several viral national news stories and has been interviewed for his work on both radio and internet shows.