Homelessness: A COUNTYWIDE CRISIS
By The NumberS
Homelessness is a growing crisis throughout Orange County. To quantify the scale of this crisis, the County and its partners conducted a Point in Time count in January 2019 and identified 6,860 sheltered and unsheltered individuals throughout the County. The majority (3,332) were identified in the Central Service Planning Area, which includes Huntington Beach and nine other cities. In Huntington Beach alone, 289 unsheltered (and 60 sheltered) individuals were identified through this count, which is a 143% increase in our unsheltered population since the last Point in Time count in 2017. As COVID-19 continues to impact the financial and housing security of residents, the number of homeless families and individuals are expected to increase and will require immediate solutions to address this crisis.
A brief report of the 2019 Point in Time count is available HERE.
In response, Homeless Shelters have opened in:
In an effort to comply with a Federal Mandate as well as recent case law, Martin v. Boise (2018), the following Orange County cities have constructed a shelter to address homelessness.
Beyond offering just shelter, navigation centers also provide access to comprehensive support services, such as vocational training, mental health services, transportation, and limited medical care. Without a shelter and a settlement agreement approved by Federal Judge David O. Carter, the City cannot legally prevent homeless encampments on public spaces, including parks and parking lots.
HUNTINGTON BEACH'S Bottom Line
In order to provide safe shelter and resume authority to enforce anti-camping ordinances in public spaces, the City of Huntington Beach will partner with the County of Orange to construct a navigation center at 17631 Cameron Lane and 17642 Beach Boulevard.
- The City of Huntington Beach cannot enforce its anti-camping laws without a 174-bed shelter and a Settlement Agreement in place.
- Construction will be significant funded by Orange County, resulting in major cost savings to the City. Immediately after completion, the City will own the center and contract with an experienced operator to manage it.
- A center would improve quality of life for those homeless families and individuals who want assistance.
- Those who refuse an offered, available shelter bed can be removed from encampments in public places, allowing the City to return our parks and streets to their intended purpose.
- Cities such as Anaheim and Cost Mesa have found that their shelters have little impact to nearby communities, while again allowing cities to enforce their anti-camping laws, which have a significant, positive impact on the entire city.
- During the pandemic, a navigation center would help the homeless isolate from the virus and slow community transmission.