Jason Kandel

Orange County Deputy Helps Find Homes for Homeless

In just two years on the job, an Orange County deputy has found permanent homes for dozens of the homeless, even reuniting some with their families.

His official title is homeless liaison. But Deputy Chet Parker has proved to be so much more, doing whatever he can to help people living on the streets of Lake Forest.

Whether it's a bed to sleep on or a trip to the doctor's office, Parker is always on the beat.

When Parker was first assigned to work with the homeless, he didn't think it was the job for him. He was wrong.

"Helping these guys is an obsession," he said.

In just two years as homeless liaison, he has been able to get 49 people off the streets of Lake Forest.

He does the job to help people like Ernie Sio, who was homeless for six months, but now has a job doing construction.

"He's not just a sheriff with a badge, he's a good man," he said.

Even as he's patrolling the streets, checking on his people, he's working the phone, trying to find a bed for someone just coming out of detox or helping a homeless Vietnam War veteran who is living out of his car.

"He came knocking on my window," said Luis. "I thought, 'Oh man, the cops are here!'"

Parker has been a guardian angel, helping him claim disability benefits.

"They deserve every single penny they get and I'll go to the ends of the Earth for them," he said. "He'll say what do you need and he'll go into his book."

The book is filled with gift cards for food and companies that offer free services for a local laundromat and a hair salon that gives free cuts.

"When I hear back from someone I've helped get of the street," he said. "It's a good feeling."

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