Published: July 30, 2013 Updated: Aug. 5, 2013 10:00 a.m.
By LOU PONSI / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Advocates for a year-round homeless shelter in North Orange County – undaunted by a recent Fullerton City Council decision against putting a county, 200-bed facility on State College Boulevard – are determined to see their vision materialize.
County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, a main proponent of the previous shelter site that got shot down by the council in June, said the search is continuing and county funding is still available.
“Nothing has changed from our perspective,” Nelson said. “I haven’t given up hope. … We want to do the best we can with the services we provide.” Since the council vote, advocates are “very actively searching,” Nelson said.
Other shelter locations have been suggested, he said, but none have met the county’s criteria: 20,000 to 30,000 square feet, a cost of less than $3 million, and accessibility to public transportation.
“If somebody has a good idea, let us know,” the supervisor said.
Thirty members of a group that had been part of a council-appointed task force to find solutions to homelessness have discussed short-term solutions.
“There will have to be multiple tracks pursued,” said group facilitator Rusty Kennedy, the director of OC Human Relations. “We are determined to find a place that will serve North Orange County.”
The group is meeting informally, but the City Council could appoint the group as a city committee again.
A year-round shelter would replace the National Guard armories in Santa Ana and Fullerton, used to house the homeless only open during nighttime hours and winter months.
Give them shelter?
2012: Providing a year-round emergency shelter is the top recommendation of the Orange County Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.
2013: A full-time shelter is also recommended by a task force appointed by the Fullerton City Council to examine homelessness and mental illness.
January: County supervisors unanimously approve a $3.15 million purchase of a vacant building on South State College Boulevard to be converted into a year-round shelter.
March: Residents at a town meeting express anger and disdain for the proposed shelter, citing the facility’s proximity to an elementary school and the potential for a greater influx of homeless to the area.
June: The City Council, by a 3-2 vote, votes against an agreement with the county to run the shelter.
Next: The council may re-appoint the task force to continue its search for a shelter in North Orange County.
Contact the writer: 714-704-3730