By Daniel Ritz

On Jan. 28, more than 60 Dana Point residents joined the almost 20-person panel of the Dana Point Homeless Task Force (HTF) meeting led by City Council member Paul Wyatt.

During the meeting, which was held at the OC Sailing & Events Center in the Dana Point Harbor, due to steadily increasing public attendance, the panel discussed a plethora of topics surrounding homelessness.

Kelly Reenders, Dana Point’s economic development manager, made a presentation of a new public information directive to inform community members of legislative and social issues surrounding homelessness. This information and more can be read at

Later in the meeting, Toni Nelson, founder of Capo Cares, offered the first public presentation of the Dana Point Homes for the Homeless Challenge, a call-to-action for the private citizens of Dana Point to financially support the “housing-first” perspective practiced by the Challenge’s beneficiaries, Mercy House and Family Assistance Ministries (FAM) in an effort to balance “compassion for both the homeless and the community.”

A full description of the Homes for the Homeless Challenge can be read online at

After breaking down the Challenge’s financial goal of raising $680,000 annually for permanent supportive housing for Dana Point’s chronically homeless and $150,000 in order to fund one-time costs of rapid rehousing for Dana Point’s newly homeless, Nelson emphasized the need for support from all stakeholders benefitting from the housing of Dana Point’s homeless.

Nelson was optimistic that the presentation would have a direct impact on the growth of the Challenge’s fundraising.

Executive Director of FAM, Mary Purdue, voiced similar feelings.

Nelson emphasized that through Homes for the Homeless Challenge contributions, private citizens are able to allocate their funds to Mercy House and/or FAM specifically and directly to homeless services for those identified in the Dana Point community, according to HTF criteria.

For more information on Homes for the Homeless funding, visit www.commitchange.comand

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