No Place to Call Home

A home is a sanctuary, the ultimate symbol of safety and security for many Americans. Yet in Orange County, high housing costs combined with lower income means too many residents are homeless or live in unstable housing.

43% of Orange County residents can’t afford to buy a home. $67.9K minimum qualifying income to own a home. $55.4K income required to rent a one-bedroom apartment.
Source: County of Orange: Orange County 2012 Community Indicators
Children Who are Homeless or Housing-Insecure
Source: Orange County 2012 Community Indicators, page 41

In a county with an unusually high cost of living, home ownership is unattainable for nearly half of Orange County households. A person earning minimum wage has to work 133 hours a week—three full-time jobs—to afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

High housing costs mean fewer resources are available for things like food, medical care, education or childcare. To make ends meet, many Orange County households are forced into double and triple occupancies, leading to high-stress living situations. Families in cramped quarters are vulnerable to risks affecting their health and safety, and children face increased educational challenges, such as the inability to complete their daily homework.

More than 26,000 Orange County children live in unstable housing, a number that increases each year. Housing-insecure children are at greater risk of mental and physical injury, foster care placement, poor academic performance and behavioral problems.

There are an estimated 7,000 homeless individuals on any given day in Orange County, and only 3,600 shelter beds to accommodate them. And even more troubling is that 70 percent of our homeless are families with children.

The costs of homelessness are substantial and sometimes difficult to measure. But we do know that in Orange County, everyone deserves a place to call home.