COSTA MESA – A man who told the Costa Mesa City Council that he became homeless after he was evicted from a sober-living facility when his insurance ran out was reunited with his family in Oklahoma last week with the help of the city and local nonprofits.
Identifying himself only as Shaun during the public comment portion of the July 18 council meeting, the 27-year-old said he was kicked out of a Pillars Recovery facility on Orange Avenue and Cecil Place earlier that month.
“And now I’m basically stuck out in the streets in a place that I don’t know,” he told the council. “Honestly, I’m scared.”
Efforts to reach Shaun were unsuccessful.
Several speakers at the meeting asked the council to help Shaun and to crack down on the proliferation of sober-living homes in the city, which many residents have said contribute to crime, noise and other quality of life issues.
Shaun – the city did not release his last name – had been in Costa Mesa for several months to receive treatment for unspecified addiction before boarding a plane to Oklahoma City last week, said Muriel Ullman, a homeless consultant for the city.
Darren Orloff, CEO of Newport Beach-based Pillars Recovery, said his company does not own any sober-living homes and instead outsources that service.
Orloff said he did not know which company owned the home, adding that his company provided out-patient treatment services to Shaun.
“On July 5 he was asked to leave our facility for reasons completely unrelated to his insurance status,” Orloff said, adding he could not elaborate because of privacy laws.
In addition, Shaun received an extra 35 days of treatment after his insurance lapsed on May 31, Orloff said, adding that he often offers several patients the chance to receive free services once their insurance runs out.
City leaders have denounced the practice of evicting sober-living residents, many of whom are from another state and end up on the streets upon being discharged, calling it is the biggest contributor to Costa Mesa’s homeless population.
In response, the city council adopted new regulations in May to help sober-living residents who are involuntarily discharged, also known as “curbing,” get much-needed services and prevent further homelessness.
“There are people who run these facilities and they throw these kids out on the street,” Orloff said. “We do not do that, and specifically, in this case, that is just not what happened.”
Shaun told the council…