Faces of Santa Ana was started by Brian Peterson and his wife Vanessa after an encounter with friend and neighbor Matt, who is homeless, led Brian to paint Matt's portrait. Brian now paints portraits of the homeless in Orange County, California, sells them, and the proceeds go back to help the homeless community.
On October 16, Faces of Santa Ana put on an event called Elephant in the Room, designed to accelerate a public conversation about homelessness in Santa Ana. The very successful evening demonstrated what unity is possible connecting all kinds of folks in dealing with the issue of homelessness. It took place at the Young American Salon and there was an art show and silent raffle, with food provided by Hakuna Murata and desserts by Jason, who was once homeless and now owns the Sweet Mission Cookie Company. Anthony Hamilton performed his own spoken word and Shannon spoke of his struggles with alcoholism (now sober five months) and sleeping in the streets. Gloria of Mary's Kitchen talked about her experiences in helping the homeless community.