Retired Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder briefed the Huntington Beach City Council this week on efforts to address homelessness countywide.
Roeder is a member of the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness, which is working with city and county governments, police agencies, faith groups, nonprofits and the private sector to address chronic homelessness.
"We find in Orange County that cities that we've met ... [have] a very specific approach and different need within in their community," Roeder said. "Flexibility and how you approach that is really the key."
The number of homeless people, sheltered and unsheltered, has dropped from 8,333 countywide in 2009 to 4,251 in 2013, according to Roeder's presentation. The data were compiled by about 700 volunteers surveying homeless people in a single day in 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Roeder credited the efforts of faith-based organizations and nonprofits for the reduction in the numbers, mainly because they offered food, shelter and support for those who wanted help. He added that it will take time, collaboration and patience while working with other groups to further lower the homeless population.