Additional extending circumstances include being "medically compromised," or older than 65 and unintentionally homeless.
Although the 18-member task force voted on qualifications for services Aug. 17, the boundaries could change as the group researches the recommendations it will make to the council.
"The definition that came up isn't going to be a perfect one," said task force member Larry Haynes. "There are going to be folks that think it's too inclusive and there are going to be folks that think it's too exclusive. Given the … wide-ranging opinions, it was pretty extraordinary" that the task force came up with an almost unanimous vote on the definition.
City Councilwoman Wendy Leece, who serves on the task force, said the group sets limits on who qualifies to discourage other municipalities from "dumping" homeless people here and to distance the city from its current image as one that draws in homeless people.
"Costa Mesa has been a magnet destination for homeless persons for a long time," Leece wrote in an email. "We need to define Costa Mesa homeless resident[s] to discourage many other cities from referring and sending their homeless persons to CM … There has to be a limit as to how many homeless people CM can help get off the street and back into a productive life if possible. Other cities need to do their fair share."
Those in transitional housing, including people who live in Costa Mesa motels, would not qualify for services under the tentative definition.
The task force was careful in drawing its limits, emphasizing people with strong ties to the city, but shying away from acting as a homeless service provider for the entire county, Haynes said.