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By Lillian Boyd
73rd District Assemblywoman Laurie Davies presented Friendship Shelter with the Nonprofit of the Year award for its work aimed at ending homelessness in South Orange County.
Davies visited one of Friendship Shelter’s permanent supportive housing locations in Dana Point to meet with members of the staff, where she expressed her gratitude and support of the important work being done in the community. Friendship Shelter operates two shelters and a street outreach program in Laguna Beach, and permanent supportive housing in dedicated buildings and scattered sites throughout South Orange County.
“The team at Friendship Shelter is singularly focused on finding the right type of housing for each individual who walks through their doors,” said Barbara McMurray, Friendship Shelter Board member and Advocacy Committee chair. “I continue to be impressed with their commitment, perseverance, and ‘whatever it takes’ attitude to get the job done.”
Last year, which brought unprecedented health and economic challenges, Friendship Shelter saw more progress toward the vision of ending homelessness than during any other year in its 33-year history. They seized on the opportunity to add new programs, expand current programs, and exceed outcome goals. About 97% of housing clients remained stably housed last year, and 112 individuals moved out of homelessness and into permanent housing, setting a new organizational record.
Friendship Shelter was incorporated in 1988 to provide year-round shelter and rehabilitation to homeless adults. Today, it provides a full complement of services to the most vulnerable homeless people in the community, and is focused on finding the most appropriate permanent housing solution for each individual.
“All programs follow the framework of three evidence-based practices: housing first, harm reduction, and recovery model,” a Friendship Shelter press release states. “Friendship Shelter has worked with more than 10,000 people to end their homelessness, and each night more than 170 homeless and formerly homeless people sleep safe, warm, and cared for in one of its programs.”