Homeless aid groups get national grant

A recently awarded federal grant will aid several service organizations that help the county's homeless population including Costa Mesa-based Share Our Selves.

The Orange County Permanent Supportive Housing Project, comprised of six nonprofits, received the $2.5-million grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

How each group uses the funds is still to be determined, though a majority of the money will go toward housing assistance, said Larry Haynes, executive director of Mercy House, a Santa Ana-based housing group which was among the recipients.

Specifically, Haynes said, the grant will help Orange County homeless who are considered the most vulnerable. He estimates the money will help 106 families and individuals.

HUD recognized the six agencies for their teamwork, Haynes said, whereas individually, they might not have been awarded the money.

"Our collaboration won a very competitive grant process on a national level," Haynes said.

Share Our Selves CEO Karen McGlinn said while the other agencies provide housing assistance, SOS is unique because it assists with health screenings and other medical aid.

There is no curing homelessness without health, she said, and there is no curing health without a home.

"You're not really healing them because you can't really heal when you don't have a place of shelter," McGlinn said.

Receiving the competitive HUD grant "really says we take caring for the homeless serious," she added.

The other recipients were housing assistance providers Jamboree, based in Irvine; the Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach; Colette's Children's Home in Huntington Beach; and the Orangewood Children's Foundation, based in Santa Ana.