Costa Mesa's Homeless Population
There are approximately 120-150 homeless individuals who are residents of Costa Mesa. Costa Mesa residents become homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless because of lack of affordable housing, decreased employment opportunities of job loss, lack of affordable health care, mental illness, or substance abuse, among other personal or life-changing events.
In addition to Costa Mesa's resident homeless population, a number of homeless individuals without Costa Mesa residency migrate to the city for various reasons. The number of migrant homeless fluctuates with the ebb and flow of individuals leaving from or returning to Costa Mesa.
What Defines a "Costa Mesa Homeless Resident?"
A Costa Mesa homeless resident is an individual who has lived in Costa Mesa for the preceding 36 months at the time he/she is assessed for residency by city staff or affiliated volunteer organizations, or has been a member of Costa Mesa's workforce for the same duration. Any exceptions to this definition that surface as a result of extraordinary circumstances shall be considered on a case-by-case basis by the chair of the Network for Homeless Solutions (NHS) in consultation with Network members.
Providing Proof of Costa Mesa Residency
There are two ways to provide proof of Costa Mesa residency:
1. Provide documentation such as:
- Copy of a previous lease.
- Confirmation of previous utility service.
- Confirmation of residency from a previous landlord, or proof of residency in a transitional living facility.
- School records.1
2. Provide proof of strong/established ties to the community through:
- Proof that the individual and/or their dependent(s) attended K-12 school in Costa Mesa within the past 10 years, and has been reestablished in the community for at least one year.
- Knowledge--either first hand or recorded--by the Costa Mesa Police, Fire Department, City community outreach workers or Trellis volunteers, and/or the Costa Mesa Code Enforcement that the individual has been living on Costa Mesa's streets for the prior 36 months.
Exceptions to the Residency Requirement
1. Vulnerable2 homeless individuals, including those identified by the VI-SPDAT3 whose well-being will be severely compromised by living on the street. Efforts to assist these individuals will be limited to stabilization and placement in housing or return to their community of origin.
2. Homeless individuals identified by City Staff (i.e. CMPD, Fire and Community Outreach Workers) as high users of City resources and services are not Costa Mesa Homeless Residents unless they meet the aforementioned thresholds and conditions. The NHS will determine on a case by case basis the extent of service efforts afforded these individuals, with the final determination by the Chair of the Network for Homeless Solutions in consultation with Network members. In most cases, NHS efforts will be limited to reconnecting these individuals to their communities of origin.
NOTE: The offering of services and housing as an alternative to homelessness followed by the refusal by the individual places that person in the category of “intentionally homeless.” The importance of the “intentionally homeless” definition goes to the heart of the issue of the necessity defense. This is because of the homeless individuals that are resistant to the acceptance of services.
1Includes primary school through college. Schools records are only used to support the aforementioned definition of residency.
2Factors to consider in determining whether a person is vulnerable include mortality risks. For individuals who have been homeless for at least six months, one or more of the following markers place them at heightened risk of mortality:
- More than three hospitalizations or emergency room visits in a year.
- More than three emergency room visits in the previous three months.
- Aged 60 or older.
- Cirrhosis of the liver.
- End-stage renal disease.
- History of frostbite, or hypothermia.
3VI-SPDAT is a needs and risk assessment that measures vulnerability that determines housing priority.