By Daniel Ritz

In their meeting on Dec. 5, Dana Point City Council unanimously approved the ratification and amendment of a current part-time contract with Mercy House for homeless outreach services to a full-time contracted position through Dec. 31, 2018.

Former Mayor Pro Tem Paul Wyatt, who leads the Homeless Task Force (HTF) that recommended this action, admitted that when the HTF was established, he may not have known what he was in for.

Praised for this first large-scale action by City Council members and public speakers, Wyatt said that he was excited to continue the pursuit of quantifiable data to validate the HTF’s recommended action’s efficiency.

Dana Point Police Chief Lt. Russ Chilton explained to City Council that one of the most important things in managing the homeless population is establishing and maintaining contact, which would be encouraged through this action.

City Manager Mark Denny said that the finalized format of this full-time contract is yet to be established, and that he will be working with Mercy House’s professional insight on how to best utilize their services. Denny was also authorized to initiate negotiations with Family Assistance Ministries for “targeted outreach services providing overnight support and homeward bound relocation assistance.”—DR

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