By Daniel Ritz

On Oct. 25, the Dana Point Homeless Task Force passed a motion to ask city staff to research the feasibility of a full–time city staff homeless care coordinator.

This motion was made after Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 Post Commander Wayne Yost noted the possible financial benefits of having a full-time expert on city staff. Currently, Dana Point contracts Stephanie Ogas of Mercy House only two days a week.

Larry Haynes, executive director of Mercy House, gave a presentation showing a total of 64 homeless individuals in Dana Point and described 46 individuals qualified for permanent supportive housing and 17 individuals eligible for rapid rehousing.

Haynes said permanent supportive housing is, “expensive but proven to work,” and said that Mercy House has a track record of more than a 95 percent retention rate. According to Mercy House’s statistics, the current cost to house these eligible individuals would be approximately $680,000.

Several committee members said although that seemed like a large financial commitment, continued medical and law enforcement costs for these individuals would quickly supersede that quantity.

The next Homeless Task Force meeting is Monday, Nov. 27, from 3-5 p.m. at City Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 33282 Street of the Golden Lantern in Dana Point.

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