HomeAid Orange County

​Breaking Barriers to End Homelessness

by Jim Palmer, President of the Orange County Rescue Mission

November 13, 2017

If we truly seek to instill social transformation in our communities and neighborhoods, we must move beyond mere spasms of seasonal charity and give our time and resources to dedicated, strategic efforts. Awareness is a valuable first step, but there are people, movements, and organizations that are demanding thoughtful action and constructive solutions. Our hope at the Rescue Mission is to examine effective action through mobile outreach programs and strategic partnerships with active organizations like HomeAid.

As we take a closer look at the children and families that are occupying the streets and parks of Orange County, there are multiple facets to be addressed. Hunger and shelter are primary needs we can meet, although these are often mere symptoms to the overarching dysfunction that drives families and individuals into homelessness.

Overwhelming barriers of incurred debt, lost or stolen paperwork, and daunting records act as just a few of the flaming hoops standing between struggling families and a roof over their heads. When a family is forced to the streets for various reasons, amassed camping tickets from sleeping in parks add even more financial stress to an already insurmountable debt.

Homelessness also presents issues of stolen or lost identification paperwork. The costly process to renew these kinds of documents is easily eclipsed by more immediate needs like hunger, so the solution to this issue often falls by the wayside, along with qualification for employment and other steps toward self-sufficiency.

Another common and unfortunate issue is a record with accumulated convictions, such as possession. It is no secret that a large population of homeless men and women suffer from addiction and many use substances to cope with deeper mental and emotional issues that come with the misfortunes of living on the streets. A few charges of possession later and an individual is staring down an impossible record disqualifying them for employment and housing.

These are just a few of the issues that our volunteers from Trinity Law School address through our mobile legal clinic. Volunteer attorneys drive a mobile clinic to our street outreaches at least once a week to serve those living on the streets, as well as the clients that reside at the Rescue Mission through an on-site clinic.

We are thrilled to bring men, women, and families into our program at the Rescue Mission where they are able to stay for 18-24 months in a state-of-the-art facility sponsored in great part by HomeAid OC. Here our clients are able to receive the services of incredible partnerships, like the legal aid of Trinity Law. This service helps knock down these daunting barriers to assist individuals back into successful employment, independent housing, and a self-sufficient lifestyle with a clean record and skills to deter the former behaviors and coping skills that landed them on the streets in the first place.


Give to HomeAid today or volunteer your time and talent to a local nonprofit to help the homeless overcome the barriers that stop them from becoming self-sufficient.


HomeAid has been ending homelessness with the Orange County Rescue Mission since 1990 through the development of a multitude of homes and apartments that added 367 beds for the homeless. Orange County Rescue Mission programs are also recipients of the HomeAid Essentials campaign and HomeAid’s Community Outreach activities.