Our work

OCPAC is unique in its commitment to addressing the needs of individuals living in poverty in realtime while simultaneously pressuring government to respond quickly and systematically to address the same needs through programs and policy change.

For a look at some of the ways we have been making a difference since 2017, read on. To keep up with our work as it happens, subscribe to email updates and join us on Facebook.

Basic health and safety

Since inception, we have worked hard to pressure the county to address the health and safety of unsheltered people throughout Orange County. Notable efforts including pressuring officials to take urgent action on child homelessness, stop sweeps of homeless encampments, and address the lack of basic sanitation services for the unsheltered.

It’s likely the Clarks would still be at the river if not for the intervention of homeless advocate Mohammed Aly, [OCPAC executive director] who made an urgent call one night in early April to county Supervisor Shawn Nelson.” – Theresa Clark, OC Register (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“Newly-released emails show that, at the request of Supervisor Shawn Nelson, county officials replaced a homeless encampment with a pile of rocks last summer along the Santa Ana River near the Honda Center. […] The emails and photos were obtained through a California Public Records Act request by [OCPAC’s] Mohammed Aly, a lawyer and advocate for the homeless, who provided copies to Voice of OC.” – Nick Gerda, Voice of OC

““We think this [providing access to basic hygiene] is a government function. So long as the government is not fulfilling their role and their responsibility to preserve the basic health and safety of human beings, we will not only criticize them for denying people their basic human rights, but we will perform that function ourselves,” [OCPAC’s] Aly said.” – Johnathon Winslow, OC Register (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Legislation

As opportunities arise, we work to help pass and inform state legislation. Two examples include supporting the establishment of the OC Housing Finance Trust and advocating for access to addiction treatment in Orange County jails.

“Homeless advocate Mohammed Aly called the stamp of approval from Moorlach, who spent about 10 years apiece in each of his previous roles as a county supervisor and the treasurer-tax collector, a good sign of the bill’s attention to accountability. Aly helped line up endorsements for AB 448 in its early stages.” – Theresa Walker, OC Register (File photo by Bill Alkofer, contributing photographer)

“Mohammed Aly brought up a different issue — offering medicine-based treatment for opioid users in county jails. If addicts could get medication-assisted treatment — using drugs such as buprenorphine to reduce physical cravings — Aly said they might not need illicit drugs upon release from jail. As it stands, without such treatment, Aly noted that freed addicts often resume their drug use, become homeless and commit crimes to support their habit.” – Theresa Walker, OC Register (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

COVID-19

When the pandemic struck, we joined together with likeminded organizations and community members to form the OC Emergency Response Coalition to track our local government’s response to the pandemic. We also worked to address overcrowding in homeless shelters and rising unemployment, among other issues.

“The County of Orange must take immuno-compromised and elderly people out of shelters and place them in motels or other locations right now. Save vulnerable lives from an outbreak predicted to infect half of the global population. Volunteers with Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition stand ready to mobilize food, transportation, and other forms of assistance to county-established programs at motels.” – Mohammed Aly, Voice of OC
“Orange County Poverty Alleviation Coalition recommends that the County of Orange establish a Pandemic Unemployment Loan Program. This program would offer Orange County residents loans, at interest rates between zero and one per cent, upon proof that they have submitted a viable unemployment claim to the state’s Economic Development Department.” – Mohammed Aly, Voice of OC

Fiscal Sponsorship

In 2020 we became the fiscal sponsor of Wound Walk OC. As a 501(c)(3), we fundraise and accept tax-deductible donations on their behalf to help continue their important first aid and community outreach work.

“Wright launched Wound Walk OC about four years ago, after he began what he calls his Good Samaritan work among homeless street people. At the time he’d recently moved from Dana Point to Santa Ana, the city with the county’s largest homeless population. At first, he brought sandwiches, water and a kind word to people crashed on the sidewalks. Medical instincts kicked in at the sight of festering wounds.” – Theresa Walker, OC Register (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Awareness-raising

We work hard to bring awareness to all these issues and more through outreach to elected officials, city and county staff, housing organizations and the general public. Our efforts have been so extensive that our executive director, Mohammed Aly, and board member, Rebecca Kovacs have been recognized among the top 40 and 100 most influential people in Orange County, respectively.

“Others praise his passion and commitment, his relentless drive to raise awareness of the needs swirling around the county’s growing homeless population, particularly at the encampments along the Santa Ana River bike trail and in the Santa Ana Civic Center.” Theresa Walker, OC Register (Photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

To keep up with our work as it happens, subscribe to email updates and join us on Facebook.