Founded in 1988 by community activists, today Friendship Shelter provides a continuum of programs designed to meet the dynamic needs of our clients. Last year alone, we served 551 unique individuals and helped 119 people move out of homelessness and into permanent housing.
Since 2019, our programs contributed to a 23% reduction in homelessness in
south Orange County and a 60% decrease in unsheltered homelessness
within Laguna Beach, where our outreach and shelter programs operate.
Since 2017, Friendship Shelter has employed street outreach staff to engage, assess, and assist as many homeless individuals as possible. Our team helps provide access to basic services to meet their needs, including shelter and housing connections, sack lunches, physical, mental and behavioral healthcare, transportation, social services, and individualized case management. The program coordinates closely with our shelter and housing staff as well as with local police and other south Orange County service providers for direct referrals into shelter and/or housing based on their vulnerability. Street outreach is conducted in the downtown business district of Laguna Beach – an area that includes a significant portion of south Orange County’s chronically homeless population.
Friendship Shelter's ASL Emergency Shelter (45 beds) and Bridge Housing Program (30 beds) employ evidence-based, nationally accepted best practices for ensuring our shelters are dynamic, effective resources. Clients work from day one with a Housing Coordinator, who helps them set and achieve goals for permanent housing, including assistance with searching, applying for, and moving into appropriate housing. Both shelters provide basic needs and wraparound services including a safe place to sleep, shower, and do laundry; all meals; assistance connecting to medical and mental healthcare; income, benefit and employment assistance; and transportation support.
Our Permanent Supportive Housing program (PSH) is home to nearly 200 individuals who were chronically homeless. The primary service provided by our PSH program is the apartments themselves – scattered throughout southern Orange County – and the hope they provide by ensuring stable, safe housing for people who have previously existed on the street or in very tenuous situations for much of their lives. The key to PSH is the support – and that comes from our staff. Support for each client is based on their individual need and includes independent living skills coaching and connections and/or transportation to local resources for food, employment and benefit income, medical and mental health care, recovery support, and community-building activities and events. In 2022, 97% of clients remained stably housed.
COORDINATED ENTRY SYSTEM
In early 2021, the County selected Friendship Shelter to lead the county-wide Coordinated Entry System for individuals. Our focus continues to be on the efficiency and equity of our county's homeless housing system for both clients and providers. We manage the flow of the system to ensure positive housing outcomes through ongoing data analysis, diverse stakeholder collaboration, and evidence-based recommendations.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
The shelter helped me to find a place to live, and support me.
I am forever grateful!
Thank you for
The staff was outstanding and very professional and efficient. They always went out of their way to make sure I was totally satisfied. I am going to miss our meetings. Thank you!
The services Friendship Shelter has provided and still is providing has enabled me
to ESCAPE homelessness.
They are still SERVING ME, even though I now
have a home!