Huntington Beach

Temporary homeless shelter is OK’d

THIS LOCATION at 17631 Cameron Lane was approved for a temporary homeless shelter Monday night by the Huntington Beach City Council. That structure will not be part of the shelter (Copyright 2020 Google).

An agreement for the establishment of a temporary homeless shelter was approved unanimously by the Huntington Beach City Council Monday night.

The shelter will be located on city-owned land at 17631 Cameron Lane, east of Beach Boulevard between Talbert and Slater avenues, near Huntington Beach Hospital.

“The state has ordered that every county provide shelter for the homeless,” said City Manager Oliver Chi, adding that it would be better for Surf City to create a shelter rather than leave decisions to the county.

This shelter, which would take an estimated six to eight weeks to be completed, would not be for coronavirus-positive persons. The County of Orange will reimburse the city for the $2 million cost of establishing the facility on the 34,189-square foot site.

It will be run by the Illumination Foundation, and will eventually come back to the city at no additional cost.

In addition to providing shelter for the homeless, the new structure will allow police to more rigorously enforce “lifestyle” offenses such as homeless encampments since – once a place to live is available – officers can make arrests of unhoused people trespassing on public land.

WHAT THE temporary shelter structure might look like (City of HB image).

“This is really great,” said City Councimember Kim Carr. Councilmember Mike Posey praised Chi for urging the city to earlier purchase the Cameron site, saying, “Opportunity rewards preparation.”

The city has made several attempts in the past to establish homeless shelters or “navigation” centers, each of them rejected because of public opposition. But now – with the coronavirus pandemic – the idea of creating a place where the homeless aren’t walking around the community drew no complaints.

Also on Monday night the council gave final approval on a 4-3 vote to three labor agreements with employee groups, which granted pay raises ranging from 4 to 3.5 percent.

The next meeting of the city council is set for Monday, May 4.

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