Jamboree Raises Funds And Awareness In Orange County’s Launch Of Ten-Year Plan To End Homelessness

Irvine, CA – Jamboree Housing Corporation, a leading developer of affordable housing in California, held its HOMES, Inc. 16th Annual Muffin Spencer-Devlin Mental Health Golf Classic on Monday, February 28, 2011 at the Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa. The timing of this year‟s tournament was well-planned with the launch of the Orange County Board of Supervisor‟s newly approved Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

Although now in its sixteenth year, this year‟s tournament marks the first time it was held since Jamboree‟s September 2010 acquisition of HOMES, Inc., a leading nonprofit provider of housing and support for people with psychiatric disabilities. This new nonprofit partnership is dedicated to the same expanded mission: quality expectations. Jamboree is known for the quality of its housing developments and HOMES, Inc. is known for the quality of its support services.

Honorary chairperson, LPGA champion Muffin Spencer-Devlin, who has lived with bipolar disorder since 1975, knows a great deal about quality support as both a provider and a recipient.

The 21-year LPGA veteran does much more than merely lend her name to this vital fundraising event, although she has done so since the tournament‟s inception. In addition to her duties as host and chair, the long-time Laguna Beach resident and local artist of some renown once again designed and created the glass-blown trophies for the tournament, a unique role she has filled for the past few years. (See photos of her work at www.muffinspencerdevlin.com.)

For Spencer-Devlin, the tournament is an opportunity to increase awareness for mental illness and to put a human face on the disorder using both her artistic and athletic gifts.

“I was first diagnosed in 1975,” Spencer-Devlin says. “I was lucky. My friends and family looked after me during the worst manifestations of the disease. For the mentally ill who are homeless, national research suggests that permanent housing is the first stage on the road to recovery, providing security, self-esteem and positive benefits from other social and health services.”

Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree, one of California‟s largest active affordable housing developers, agrees with Spencer-Devlin‟s assessment.

“Providing affordable housing to special needs residents is central to the success of all communities, so it remains central to our mission,” she says. “Moving forward, our goal is to designate at least 10% of the homes at each of our new construction properties to people with special needs. These are folks already living in our communities and permanent supportive housing is critical to providing stability for them.”

It was their partnership on the development of a 2009 affordable housing property for residents with special needs – the wildly successful Diamond Apartment Homes in Anaheim, which currently boasts of a 97% resident retention rate after two years in operation – that first brought the Jamboree and HOMES, Inc. teams together. The recent merger creates a true hybrid of supportive housing services, vitally important as Orange County embarks on its Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

“Mental illness is not the knockout punch, homelessness is,” says Helen Cameron, Jamboree‟s Manager of Services for Residents with Special Needs and the former Executive Director of HOMES, Inc. She‟s also served as a member of the working group that developed and wrote the county‟s 10-year plan. “This tournament and Jamboree‟s efforts are both aimed directly at addressing one of the primary goals of that 10-year plan: to develop permanent housing options linked to a range of supportive services.”

Other goals of that plan, which was recently approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors and is now in the implementation stage, are equally ambitious. Those goals include strategies designed to prevent homelessness as well as increasing outreach to those who are at-risk of homelessness and improving the efficacy of the emergency shelter and access system.

Backed by the size and strength of Jamboree‟s financial, asset management and operations expertise, Cameron and the team at Jamboree now focus on providing the ongoing supportive services delivered with the "whatever it takes‟ approach for which HOMES, Inc. is known. This expands opportunities to co-develop affordable housing with integrated housing and services for those with special needs throughout all of California. HOMES, Inc. continues to operate as a separate 501(c)(3) organization under the Jamboree name and governance.

Jamboree‟s HOMES, Inc. is currently the only real model in Orange County for these services, and its work has proved successful since HOMES, Inc.‟s original inception more than 25 years ago.

The Spencer-Devlin Mental Health Classic was founded by the late Bill Hagerman, a HOMES, Inc. board member and parent of a child with persistent mental illness. Although Hagerman was tragically killed by a drunk driver, the tournament he helped create continues to be a popular fundraising source for the  HOMES, Inc. supportive housing program. More than 100 golfers participated in this year‟s event.

Tournament Activities: Staffed by the special needs residents Jamboree serves, participants had an opportunity to participate in a putting competition sponsored by Musty Putters, and golfers were treated to warm-up exercises sponsored by Body Balance. The day included a BBQ lunch and a shotgun start to the tournament. The evening also included cocktails, dinner, awards and updates on the nonprofit‟s latest success stories as well as highlights on the launch of the County‟s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.

Heading the list of corporate sponsors is U.S. Bank, followed by Wells Fargo and Wermers Multi-Family. Other tournament sponsors included: Advent Construction, Califame, Newkirk Enterprises, RBF Consulting, and Union Bank. The “Hole in one” car was a 2011 Jeep Wrangler or Durango provided by Orange Coast Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge. This year‟s tournament brought in more than $20,000 and all proceeds will benefit HOMES, Inc.‟s mission to provide transitional and permanent housing for the homeless and mentally ill.

About Jamboree: Founded in 1990, Irvine, CA-headquartered Jamboree Housing Corporation is an award-winning, broad-based nonprofit housing development company that develops, acquires, renovates and manages permanently affordable rental and ownership housing throughout California for working families, seniors and people with special needs. Housing with HEART and HOMES Inc. are 501(c)(3) organizations and comprise Jamboree‟s resident services group. A leading nonprofit developer, Jamboree is committed to sustaining excellence with high quality affordable housing that is good for the environment, the economy and local communities. It currently has about $250 million in affordable housing projects in its development pipeline and a $1 billion asset portfolio that includes the development of and/or ownership interest in 6,700 homes in more than 66 California communities. Currently, Housing with HEART programs and services that foster learning, health and community building are offered at 38 Jamboree communities with designated staff at each location. For more information, go to www.jamboreehousing.com.

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