A new push to advance the city’s efforts to cope with homelessness emerged at Wednesday’s meeting of the Westminster City Council.
Kimberly Ho, councilmember from District 3, led the charge. “I want to bring this to the forefront,” she said. “I feel this has been on the back burner.”
A homeless task force had been created with a final recommendation that a temporary homeless shelter be created for the city. A lack of funding for such a project was cited for the reason that proposal was not acted upon.
But Ho wants to revisit the problem, which she feels is growing in Westminster. She cited the experience of Stanton, which has received financial support to renovate and convert two former motels into “navigation centers” for the housing and counseling of the unsheltered.
Ho said she’s been in contact with that city’s mayor, Dave Shawver, who’s told her that his city was nearing approval from David Carter, a U.S. District judge who has enjoined Orange County cities from enforcing their anti-camping ordinances unless they provide some place for homeless people to sleep.
If Stanton can begin enforcing such laws, that could result in some homeless persons traveling to Westminster or Garden Grove, cities still without similar facilities.
City council members and officials discussed various options and approaches to this issue, including the possibility of partnering with other cities to create such a center.
“Nothing is off the table,” said Carlos Manzo, councilmember from District 2. “No idea is a bad idea.”
The council gave city staff direction to follow through on the homelessness subject, including contacting other cities for potential partnerships and a possible revival of the city’s homeless task force.