Written by Becks Heyhoe, the executive director of United to End Homelessness, Orange County United Way.


While there is no shortage of opinions about homelessness, often the voices that are left out in the debate are of those who are experiencing homelessness themselves.

For the first time, the county of Orange — through their advisory Commission to End Homelessness — sought first-hand information from the people surviving on the streets.

In the 2023 Orange County Homeless Survey, recently administered by the Office of Care Coordination and City Net, more than 640 people shared their experiences navigating systems and roadblocks encountered.

The methodology was a bold pivot from previous surveys, and a credit to the leadership of Doug Becht at the County of Orange. While data is invaluable, what speaks to me are the needs for dignity, safety, and health.