People often ask me what we are doing about the homeless in Laguna Niguel. There is no doubt that the economy has brought hard times on regular people just like you and me, and many report a greater instance of panhandling on our street corners here in the city. We can use law enforcement resources to make sure crime and trespassing issues are addressed, but that is not where the problem ends. The issue is a serious one and one that is difficult to address.
I am a firm believer that the best way to address the homeless problem is through partnerships with charitable, civic, religious and other nonprofit organizations who have the volunteers and resources to truly help those in need.
My family and I attend Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo and we are regular supporters of their food pantry program and homeless outreach projects. We also support South County Outreach and the Orange County Rescue Mission. These programs help to provide the homeless not just with a meal once in a while, but with the skills, training and tools they need to end the cycle of homelessness and help them get their lives put back together.
Today, I also had the great pleasure of touring the Orange County Rescue Mission facility in Tustin, and I am amazed by the efficiency and effectiveness of their program. They have an incredibly high success rate of getting people off the streets and into productive jobs and stable housing, and they serve Laguna Niguel. These are the kind of solutions we need to help support, and I encourage you to contribute whenever you are able.
There will always be those who choose to be homeless and would prefer to beg rather than seek gainful employment, but I believe as a compassionate society we should always invest our personal charitable dollars in the organizations that help them get out of that situation if they want to. There is no silver bullet to solve the problem, but we should continue to support organizations like South County Outreach and the Orange County Rescue Mission who have the answer and are delivering it to hurting and hungry people every day.