By Jessica Peralta
With the cold and rainy months upon us, the Westminster Police Department’s homeless liaison unit is out making sure the local homeless population knows about the services available.
“We do the best to encourage them to get into shelter … from the weather and the cold,” said homeless liaison Sgt. Dave Ferronato.
The unit conducts a weekly outreach in partnership with Orange County Mental Health’s Project Hope, a homeless outreach program directed at the mentally ill. It also partners with American Family Housing for their Homeless Prevention Rapid Rehousing program to help them find shelter.
“We’ve got a few that have come out of the drainage flood control channels and wanted to get out of the rain,” said Ferronato.
Over the holidays, there was a family of six that came in to the WPD lobby seeking assistance. Emergency funds available for these situations were used to put the family up in a hotel for several days until other resources could be provided.
“We don’t have families show up too often, but when families do show up, it becomes really hard to find placements for them,” said Ferronato, adding that many of the larger shelters may only take women and children or single adults, for example. “On those occasions, there’s some emergency funds we use to put people up in a motel until we can stabilize the situation.”
American Family Housing was able to assist the family to find longer transitional housing where the family could stay until they could get back on their feet and return to their home, which is out of state.
“They came in when it was pouring rain,” he said.
There are three emergency/homeless shelters accepting clients during the cold, rainy months in Orange County. WPD offers some one-day bus passes that can be used to assist people to get to the shelters if they have no other form of transportation.
Santa Ana Armory
612 East Warner (Warner/Main), Santa Ana
Run by Mercy House, it serves families with minor children only.
400 South Brookhurst (Brookhurst/Valencia), Fullerton
Run by Mercy House, it serves adult clients only.
The bus pickup locations for routing to other shelters on dark nights at this location are at 6 p.m. at North La Palma Park Way and Harbor in Anaheim and North La Palma Park Way near Parry in Santa Ana. For more details, contact Armory Emergency Shelter Info, 714-836-7188 Ext. 131.
400 Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana
Run by Midnight Mission and CityNet, this shelter is open all year round.
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