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City of Laguna Niguel News

Posted on: April 16, 2018

Update on Homelessness Issue in Laguna Niguel

Since March 17, City Manager Ridge and elected officials have attended numerous meetings on the current homeless crisis. Judge Carter held a daylong meeting to discuss homelessness with the County and all cities in Orange County on Saturday, March 17 and City Manager Ridge was in attendance. Despite Laguna Niguel’s representation at this meeting and active involvement, the County then decided in a private meeting to place temporary homeless shelters in three cities including Laguna Niguel. All three of those cities vehemently opposed the County’s decision and threatened litigation, and ultimately, the County reversed its decision at their March 27 meeting, in which Laguna Niguel was represented by its elected officials, City Manager Ridge and numerous residents. On April 3, Judge Carter held another meeting with the County and cities including Laguna Niguel Mayor Elaine Gennawey and City Manager Ridge. 

On Tuesday, April 3, 2018, the City Council received an update from City Manager Kristine Ridge on the current status of homelessness. City Manager Ridge stated that at last count (2017), there were 4,792 homeless individuals in Orange County, with 2,584 living in unsheltered conditions. Of those unsheltered individuals, 286 were in South Orange County. The City has been proactive by focusing its efforts on the prevention of homelessness by providing grants to service providers for supportive services for at-risk-homeless and homeless, contracting for a specifically trained Homeless Liaison Officer, working with property owners to provide 28 low and very low affordable housing units with more in the pipeline, and arranging for subsidized transportation for seniors to access meals. 

Judge Carter has asked for collaboration and cooperation to determine an appropriate location for temporary homeless shelters. While the City Council has unanimously allocated up to $750,000 for outside counsel if litigation is needed to protect the quality of life in Laguna Niguel, they also directed City Manager Ridge to create a homeless task force for the purpose of sharing what is being done to assist the homeless and at-risk homeless by the City and County, the faith based community and non-profit service providers. The City Council directed staff to show leadership in these ongoing discussions and to keep them informed as this complex issue evolves. The City is working diligently with other cities to find compassionate, productive, and effective ways to help the homeless get connected with any mental health services, emergency shelter, or job training that will help them become self-sufficient. 

On April 4, all of the City Managers in Orange County, including City Manager Ridge, met in special workshop to discuss alternatives and options for temporary and permanent housing and services for homeless individuals. On April 10, City Manager Kristine Ridge met with South Orange County city managers to continue their discussion and further explore options on workable solutions for the homeless. On April 19, Mayor Gennawey and City Manager Ridge will attend the South County Association of Mayors meeting to further explore options and services to assist those in need. 

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City of Laguna Niguel
30111 Crown Valley Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Tel: (949) 362-4300
Fax: (949) 362-4340

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