There has been a lot of misinformation lately about how the County of Orange is handling the homeless crisis in Santa Ana. There is accurate information available online, but the media and the NIMBYs have been ignoring the facts.
For example did you know that the homeless shelter at the abandoned DTSA bus terminal, known as the Courtyard, was suggested by the City of Santa Ana? So the County bought the land. Now the City of Santa Ana wants to close the Courtyard.
The City then chose a Central Street location. Then the City withdrew from that location. The Santa Ana City Council then suggested the Yale location., as you can read about here.
The City and the County agreed to an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) re the Yale Transitional Center, which you can read here.
Supervisor Andrew Do wanted to ensure the city would not pull out so he asked the city for a financial commitment. They all then went to court and Mayor Miguel Pulido said he would work with the County.
Eventually Supervisor Do became concerned because the City of Santa Ana was not living up to their end of the MOU, specifically they did not do any community outreach, as you can read about here.
In October of this year the City of Santa Ana sent a letter to the County ridiculously indicating that it was the County that breached the MOU. The County responded with their own letter clearly outlining what the City had done.
Currently the City of Santa Ana is not in the settlement agreement. To join it they have to open up an additional 250 beds. That would allow the enforcement of the anti-camping law.
The Yale Transitional Center will provide shelter for up to 425 individuals experiencing homelessness in the Central Service Planning Area, consisting of 275 single men, 100 single women and 25 couples (50 people).
This new shelter will NOT however be anything like the miserable Courtyard. You can read the Yale Transitional Center plan for yourself here.
Here are a few facts about the Yale Transitional Center that you most likely are not aware of:
- Clients may stay at the Transitional Center for 180 consecutive days. Extensions on length of stay will be permitted on a case-by-case basis.
- The Transitional Center will serve homeless men and women who are living in the Central Service Planning Area only.
- The Transitional Center will not allow walk-ups to enter the facility.
- Individuals seeking shelter will require a referral to the Transitional Center by designated partners and complete intake and screening for the program prior to their arrival at the Transitional Center. This will ensure a bed is available and determine if the individual is appropriate for the program.
- Individuals with active felony warrants will not be allowed at the Transitional Center.
- The Yale Transitional Center will provide 24-hour security to enforce strict No Walk-Up, No Walk-Out, and No Loitering policies. The program will support transportation of clients in and out of the Transitional Center.
- Referral partners include the OC Health Care Agency Outreach and Engagement, law enforcement, and other designated street outreach and community-based programs. Referral partners are required to follow the intake referral process that includes a bed reservation system.
- Clients will receive a Transitional Center ID card which will include a picture and be required for readmission for the duration of their stay.
- Meals will only be provided to clients of the Transitional Center.
- The OC Health Care Agency, Social Services Agency, and OC Community Resources will integrate supportive services and resource teams to support the Transitional Center delivery of services.
Will there be rules enforced at the Yale Transitional Center? You bet:
- Warnings may be issued for the following rule violations, but not limited to:
- Loitering in the surrounding community
- Missed curfew
- Smoking in non-designated areas
- Being in a non-designated area in the facility
- Disrespectful language and/or behavior
- Harassment of staff or other clients
- Immediate exit from the program may occur for violations that create an unsafe environment for clients and/or staff including, but not limited to:
- Drugs or weapons in the facility
- Being under the influence of drugs, and/or alcohol
- Physical fighting, physical assault,
Now you may have heard a lot of chatter about the impact on schools and such by the Yale Transitional Center. However if you look at the proposed map of the site you will see that the current Courtyard shelter poses the far greater threat to the community!
- There are no less than even schools located within the affected radius of the Courtyard! Only two schools are in the radius of the Yale Transitional Center.
- There are three daycare centers near the Courtyard – and none near the Yale Transitional Center.
- There are 9 churches located near the Courtyard and only three by the Yale Transitional Center.
- There are two libraries near the Courtyard while the only cultural center near the Yale Transitional Center is the O.C. Heritage Museum.
To recap the City of Santa Ana cannot enter into the Settlement Agreement with Judge Carter unless we provide more beds for the homeless. The Courtyard Shelter is going to close down, at the insistence of the City of Santa Ana. The Link Shelter was always a temporary solution too. If we want to get the homeless off our train tracks, out of our creeks and off of our streets then we need to support the Yale Transitional Center.
Lastly while it is true that the southern cities in Orange County are not doing enough to deal with the homeless I remind you again that the homeless in question were living in the Plaza of the Flags for years. And the Yale Transitional Center will only be made available to those homeless who are already here.
There is no perfect solution when it comes to dealing with our homeless. But deal with them we must. The NIMBYs will never be pleased by any option. I for one would like to get these people off the streets!
Remember too that it is now getting colder. I still go out and walk every night, but in a parka. I see homeless people freezing all over the place. I thank God I am not in their number. If we can accommodate a few of them why wouldn’t we want to do so?
Lastly there has been a huge ruckus in the wake of Angie Cano’s dismissal from the OC Airport Commission after she spoke out against the Yale Transitional Center at a meeting of the OC Board of Supervisors. I just don’t understand this. Supervisor Do has the right to dismiss any of his Commissioners at any time for any reason! That is not an abridgment of free speech. While Do had other reasons for dismissing Cano it is immaterial. He had the unequivocal right to dismiss her, for any reason. This was not a scandal at all.