Newport Beach picks 7 for homelessness task force


Newport Beach filled out its new homelessness task force Tuesday, with the City Council confirming seven people from among 27 applicants.

The members are:

  • Helen Cameron, a business development analyst at Jamboree Housing, an Irvine-based developer of affordable and supportive housing
  • John Heffernan, a lawyer, former Newport mayor and current vice chairman of Catholic Charities of Orange County
  • Terry Moore, a volunteer coordinator for Trellis, a Costa Mesa homeless outreach organization
  • Thomas Peterson, a development specialist at Riverside University Health System’s mental health agency and a social work professor at USC
  • David Snow, a sociology professor at UC Irvine who has done extensive research on homelessness
  • The Rev. Cindy Voorhees, pastor of St. James Episcopal Church in Newport Beach
  • Jean Wegener, executive director of Serving People in Need, a Costa Mesa-based housing assistance organization

Councilwoman Joy Brenner also picked up a seat on the task force, joining Councilman Brad Avery and Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill as council representatives.
The task force will develop strategies to integrate homelessness services and build a list of community partners, review temporary housing solutions and develop metrics to monitor homelessness reduction. The group will periodically report to the council with updates.

The task force is scheduled to end at the close of 2020, but the City Council may extend its work.

Newport Beach plans to spend $1 million over the next five years on homelessness outreach and housing placement.

The City Council in March agreed to a contract with Long Beach-based nonprofit City Net to enhance the social services provided by the Police Department, which already partners with the Orange County Health Care Agency to help homeless people with social, health and housing needs.

Water master plan

The council Tuesday also reviewed and adopted a water master plan, an engineering and planning evaluation of the city’s water infrastructure.

The comprehensive plan, the city’s first since 1999, addresses the condition of infrastructure and outlines potential capital improvement projects over the next 30 years, such as main and well repairs and replacement. The plan is one of the primary factors when setting water rates.

The city said its infrastructure is in good shape overall but is aging, with some water mains 100 years old and prone to costly breaks.

Dick Dale tribute

The council dedicated Tuesday’s meeting to late surf rock icon and former Newport Beach resident Dick Dale, who died in March at age 81.

In addition to his seminal 1962 hit “Misirlou,” which took on a second life as the theme song to the film “Pulp Fiction,” Dale had a 1963 single called “The Wedge.” He packed the house at the Rendezvous Ballroom that once stood at the base of the Balboa Pier and lived in a nearby mansion once owned by Gillette shaving company scion King Gillette.

Members of Dale’s family were on hand Tuesday for the honor.

The council commonly adjourns meetings in memory of well-known locals. In addition to Dale, the council dedicated Tuesday’s meeting to the late Beth Morley, who worked in local children’s ministry.

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