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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 more than 700 individuals and helped 83 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
in Laguna Beach, where our outreach and shelter programs operate.


Friendship Shelter operates street outreach, housing-focused shelter, and housing programs. Additionally, we manage Orange County's Coordinated Entry System for individuals. 

All Friendship Shelter programs employ a Housing First approach without “housing readiness” conditions or exclusions. Our staff works with each client to provide supportive and stabilization services based on their unique circumstances and need. These services always remain available and are not made mandatory as a condition of tenancy.  Our team emphasizes engagement and problem-solving goals to help overcome barriers to acquiring and maintaining permanent housing.   


Friendship Shelter staff members are trained to use trauma-informed case management practices. This includes understanding and respecting the client’s personal culture, gender and sexual identity to eliminate feelings of shame, blame, guilt, and stigma; identifying and understanding their “triggers”; establishing trust and predictability; ensuring that the client feels safe when engaged in services; and promoting a strength-based approach to goal setting and action plans that fosters opportunities for success.  


Our service delivery approach incorporates the Recovery Model, which is centered around client strengths. We proudly partner with CalOptima, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, the Orange County Health Care Agency, Telecare, CHAT-H nurses, and others to ensure that people with severe and persistent mental illness or dual diagnosis have access to appropriate care and intervention while simultaneously pursuing housing.

At Friendship Shelter our goal is always to move each person who walks through our doors out of homelessness and into permanent housing as swiftly as possible while providing critical support services. 


Person Carrying Shopping Cart

The shelter helped me to find a place to live, and support me.

I am forever grateful!

Thank you for

your goodness!

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!

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