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Step Up | Orange County
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ORANGE COUNTY

Step Up’s Housing First Program.

Seeking Permanent Supportive Housing?

Access to Step Up’s programs and services comes by referral from each of the Coordinated Entry System.

  • In Orange County, contact 211

If you are homeless you can call 2-1-1 and speak to someone who should be able to direct you to shelters or other homeless services and make a referral to begin the permanent supportive housing process.

Step Up’s Orange County Housing First Programs began in 2015 with the CoC Mercy House Collaborative. Step Up Orange County also offers services at Jamboree Housing’s Supportive Services sites. Step Up has already housed 11 individuals who had been experiencing chronic homelessness following the Housing First model and offers supportive life skills services to over 200 residents.

Housing First, established by Dr. Sam Tsemberis, is a model which roots permanent supportive housing as a foundation of recovery for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, mental health conditions, and addictions. Traditionally, these individuals have lived in a cycle of surviving on the street, being admitted to hospitals, shelters, or jails and then going back to the street. The stress of surviving each day in this cycle puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the individual’s psychiatric and physical health. “Living in the street,” one client said, “It makes you crazy.”

Instead, Housing First advocates the provision of client-preferred services based on the premise that individuals know what is best for themselves, that services are to be directed by an individual’s self-determined goals. The number one supportive service requested by Step Up members is housing. Not a pill, a program, or a protocol, but a place to live.

Step Up’s Orange County Team currently works with individuals  in housing, providing supportive case management services to ensure success. These services include assisting in securing public benefits (Social Security income, food stamps, etc.), counseling, substance use recovery support and linking to community resources.

An Important Message from Step Up

Dear Supporters, Volunteers and Trusted Community Partners,

We wanted to take a moment to let you know Step Up is actively monitoring the COVID-19 status in the communities we work. We are relieved to report that as of this writing, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the Step Up Community. Step Up is taking measures to both protect employees' health and welfare, and to advance its critical mission to serve its most at-risk members. During this time, members will continue to need our support and we expect to continue to provide the exemplary level of support and services we have become known for in our community.

In an abundance of caution, Step Up is taking the following immediate steps to curtail the spread of the virus and to keep its staff, members and volunteers as safe and as healthy as possible during this period of unknown impact:

  • All volunteer activities at all sites are halted for a minimum of two weeks.
  • Managers are empowered to work with staff to curtail activities that may put them or members at risk. This includes the possibility of remote work when feasible, phone or telehealth meetings with members as necessary, avoiding transporting members in personal or company vehicles - the advancement of our mission is paramount;
  • Program staff will be trained on how to utilize company phone apps to effectively communicate with members and each other as necessary;
  • We have asked staff if they or an immediate family member is experiencing flu-like symptoms, to not report to any office location, contact their manager on how to proceed, and seek medical attention immediately.

While many public and private spaces have curtailed operations for the time being, Step Up will remain operational and will continue serving its clients. Again, it is important to note that NO ONE IN THE STEP UP COMMUNITY HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19. Our goal is to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Please contact us by email or phone before coming to one of our locations. Support from our community is especially vital now as operations are re-aligned to adhere to our mission while keeping staff, members and volunteers safe. Please consider making a donation as we work through this difficult time. Your contributions in any amount ensure that Step Up will continue serving our most vulnerable neighbors, who are especially vulnerable during this community health crisis. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

Stay safe and healthy,
Tod Lipka
President & CEO