The Costa Mesa homeless count was initially conducted by Vanguard University over a six-day period in September 2009 and is conducted every two years. The count was conducted to enumerate the unsheltered homeless in Costa Mesa and identify the distribution of unsheltered homeless by gender and age, and to describe the population of unsheltered homeless in terms of personal vulnerabilities and needed services.
This count was made possible by Vanguard University and the Churches Consortium, an alliance of community volunteers from churches predominantly from Costa Mesa. Volunteers interviewed the homeless on city streets, as well as locations with known homeless presence such as the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, the Lighthouse Church, and Lions Park.
Key findings from the 2012 study
- Mean age was 48.
- 71% were male.
- 16% were employed.
- 19% were veterans.
- 36% were treated for mental health issues; 40% were prescribed mental health medication although only about 25% were taking it.
- 36% reported being in good health; 19% said they were disabled, and 58% said they had not been hospitalized within the past year.
- Nearly 38% were hospitalized one to three times in the past year from the time of the study.
- 42% were victims of criminal or violent attacks, with 57% categorized as assault and battery.