I am one of the few that had lived in Socal all my life and its so nice to not live there anymore. There are so many negatives, I don't even know where to start.
However I would start looking now for a place, literally. Roommates can be sketchy and with $1400 a month budget you will be right in the middle with renting. Be glad its temporary.
I would also suggest around the Irvine Spectrum or Tustin Ranch.
In 2008 I moved from Dublin Ranch in the Bay Area up to Oregon and it went from $2500+ a month to $700 but what came with that price move was a free state.