Huntington Beach

Council approves homeless shelter, 6-1

THE HUNTINGTON BEACH City Council on Thursday approved a proposal to purchase a building for use as a homeless shelter (Shutterstock).

UPDATE: After four and a half hours of discussion, questions and answers, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 6-1 Thursday to purchase a building to establish a homeless shelter. In the special session, the lone dissenter was Mayor Erik Peterson, who said “I feel like I’m buying a new car without a motor.”

Councilwoman Kim Carr, responding to complaints about where the “navigation center” would be established, said “There is no perfect spot. There is no unicorn location,” going on to suggest that a homeless shelter would bring objections no matter where it was located in the city.”

The council was told that annual operation of the shelter – separate from the cost of the building – would run between $1.2 and $1.5 million but that there was state funding available for much of that expense.

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The establishment of a shelter for the homeless will be the subject of a special meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council this afternoon (Thursday).

On the agenda will be a resolution declaring a “shelter crisis” and approving a purchase and sale agreement for property at 15311 Pipeline Lane in an industrial area of the city.

The cost of the transaction is set at $2,850,000. Funding would come several sources, including community development block grants. The proposed “navigation center” is planned to be open for business by fall of 2019. It will accommodate men, women and couples and will have an approval process for potential users including no “walk-ins,” or “walking out,” no registered sex offenders, no persons with outstanding felony warrants and a maximum stay of 90 days, subject to extension if the resident is in the process of securing housing.

Clients at the center will have access to on-site health care, counseling, job training and more. They will be driven to and from the center, so there shouldn’t people homeless people walking in the vicinity of the site.

The initial proposal for a shelter at 5770 Research Drive was scuttled because of community opposition to its location near Marina Park and Marina High School.

As planned, the new center would have 50 to 75 beds in the 11,200-square foot facility.

The city is under the threat of a lawsuit for its ordinance banning overnight camping when there is no alternative housing available.  Federal Judge David Carter has been overseeing the efforts of Orange County cities to adapt to the homeless crisis.

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