The three big back-to-back storms we had recently got me thinking. As I turned out the lights and crawled into bed one night, the sound of the rain pelting my bedroom window made me pull the covers up a little higher and burrow more deeply into the pillows. It also made me think about the homeless woman I spotted earlier that day on El Toro Road, pushing her shopping cart filled with blankets and other personal items. Where was she tonight, I wondered, as the torrential rains that were pummeling Orange County continued.
As I drifted off, I pondered what circumstances in her life may have led her to this point, and then counted my blessings that I had a warm bed, a soft pillow and a roof over my head. I said a quick prayer for her as well as those volunteers who work so hard each day to provide a place of respite at night for those who have none.
Recently, in fact, thousands volunteered their time to quantify the homeless population in Orange County as part of the biennial “point-in-time” count that will determine how much money the region may receive to provide relief and support services.
The next morning, as the relentless rain continued, I looked at the emergency support systems in O.C. for the homeless. There are many and they provide services for a range of circumstances: for teens in crisis, for victims of domestic violence, for pregnant women in need and for those struggling with substance abuse. Some offer transitional services and some provide emergency shelters for those who need help tonight, like the woman I saw in my community.
As Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa, said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” In that spirit, I offer a list of emergency shelters all over OC that can use your support now.
Pope Francis has urged us to continue to live the lessons from the Year of Mercy. Here is a place to start.
Orange Coast Interfaith Shelter
Costa Mesa • 949-631-7213
Homeless Shelter, Transitional Housing
Salvation Army Shelter Santa Ana – Hospitality House
Santa Ana • 714-542-9576
Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing for men
Salvation Army Hospitality House Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach • 714-841-0150
Thomas House Temporary Shelter
Garden Grove • 714-647-7534
Garden Grove Homeless Shelter
First Southern Baptist Church
Buena Park • 714-522-7201
Emergency shelter for 1 night for homeless single adults and families
Mercy House – Fullerton Armory
Fullerton • 714-836-7188
Orange County Cold Weather Armory Emergency Shelter program
Lauras House Ladera Ranch
Ladera Ranch • 949-361-3775
Emergency Shelter for women and children
Orange County Rescue Mission –
Men’s New Life And Emergency
Shelter (for Men)
Tustin • 714-247-4300
Our Father’s Table
San Juan Capistrano • 949-324-0908
Emergency homeless support