Fewer homeless counted in Costa Mesa in latest survey

The number of homeless people observed in Costa Mesa during a countywide survey early this year was notably less than in a similar count in 2015, according to a city report.

During January’s Point-in-Time Count and Survey, 103 unsheltered homeless people were seen on local streets.

About 1,200 volunteers making the tally worked in small teams for about four hours to walk areas around Orange County where homeless people were known or likely to be.

Costa Mesa’s number accounted for about 4% of the 2,584 unsheltered homeless people observed countywide, according to 2-1-1 Orange County, the nonprofit that managed the count.

The city’s figure was down from the 158 homeless people recorded during a similar survey that Vanguard University conducted in October 2015.

In 2013, volunteers with the Christian university’s YOU Count program recorded 109 homeless people on Costa Mesa’s streets.

City spokesman Tony Dodero said several factors contributed to the recent decline, including the leadership of current and past City Council members and more than $1 million in annual city spending related to homelessness issues.

However, he said the “secret to the success” is the “quiet work in the trenches of the Network for Homeless Solutions,” a collaborative effort among city staff, local churches, nonprofits, private organizations and volunteers.

The team’s efforts have “helped house nearly 300 people who were previously homeless” since 2013, according to a city news release.

“There are hundreds of success stories, and we are proud that Costa Mesa is doing its part to help those members of our community that are most in need,” Dodero said Friday. “However, there is more work to do, and our community is ready for the challenge.”

The Point-in-Time count is conducted every two years and helps determine how much money the county receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address homelessness.

luke.money@latimes.com

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