ConnectOC: Safety Net

Orange County’s high cost of living causes extraordinary challenges for our neighbors who are financially insecure. A safety net of services provides vital assistance, including food aid and emergency housing, ensuring that the most vulnerable members of our community have resources during times of need.

Spotlight Issue: Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is an intensifying challenge for vulnerable OC residents. Its effects are particularly damaging for children, with both immediate and long-term impacts to their physical, social, emotional and educational development.

Across Orange County

1 in 11

children are food insecure.

1 in 12

residents are food insecure.


of low-income residents aged 65+ are food insecure.

Food insecurity impacts communities of color at higher rates. People of color are 2-3x as likely as Caucasians to experience food insecurity.

Engagement Opportunties

You can make a difference!

Join the Orange County Grantmaker’s Food Insecurity Issue Table, where institutional funders and individual philanthropists learn, collaborate, and take action to end food insecurity.

Donate to the regional, collaborative effort to solve hunger through the Orange County Hunger Alliance.

Connect with a nonprofit addressing hunger issues through OC Nonprofit Central.

Progress has been made...

From 2018 to 2020 poverty rates modestly decreased for all racial and ethnic groups.

But more remains to be done…

Additional safety net concerns persist in Orange County for children, adults and older residents.


23,246 children attending Orange County schools are identified as experiencing homelessness.

Orange County had more sheltered homeless youth in 2022 than in 2021 despite improvements the previous year.


40% of Orange County residents are housing-burdened, which means they spend more than 30% of their income on rent or mortgages.

Renters in Orange County need to earn 3.3X the state minimum wage to afford the county’s average monthly rent cost of $2,596.

52% of households in Orange County with children younger than 6 do not have the finances to provide basic necessities.

More than 90 percent of Orange County renters making less than $50,000 per year are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Older Adults

42.5% of single older adults and 19.8% of older adult couples in Orange County cannot afford basic costs for housing, health care, food, and transportation

It is estimated that in Orange County, up to 200,000 older adults may not have enough to eat.

According to the 2019 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) estimates, 25.6% (124,236) of older adults in Orange County have a household income below the Elder Economic Security Standard Index. This percentage has increased compared to estimates from 2015, where 9% of single older adults and 9.6% of older adult couples in Orange County living were below the Elder Economic Security Index.

Join Us in Learning More About Our Community

Search OC Nonprofit Central for organizations addressing the causes and issues closest to your heart.

Dig Deeper

Dig deeper into the compelling data surfaced in the areas of health, safety net, and education in OCCF’s ConnectOC data refresh.

Connect With Us
Connect with OCCF team member, Carol Ferguson, to explore ways you can help move the needle on these important issues.