The Santa Ana City Council has unanimously approved a resolution opposing the County of Orange’s construction of a 425-bed homeless shelter on Yale Street in southwest Santa Ana.
The resolution also declares the Council’s opposition to the construction and operation of a County shelter “anywhere else in Santa Ana until the County of Orange is operating a proportional amount of shelter beds in the South Service Planning Area as exists in the Central and North Service Planning Areas.” The signed resolution was delivered today to the Board of Supervisors to notify them of the City of Santa Ana’s official stance, which the Council approved on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
“The City of Santa Ana, its residents and business community are sick and tired of having the County treat us as their dumping ground for the homeless,” said Mayor Miguel Pulido. “They need to quit pushing for homeless shelters in the middle of our city’s neighborhoods, releasing their jail inmates within our city’s boundaries and concentrating most of their homeless services within Santa Ana. We have had enough.”
The City has a long history of providing services to combat homelessness for Santa Ana individuals and families. The City last year established a Homeless Strategic Plan and spends about $17 million annually to address homelessness and its impacts.
In January 2018, the City formed the Quality of Life Team, a multi-disciplinary working group consisting of various City departments and community organizations that work together to provide outreach to people experiencing homelessness and to help them get access to social services, housing and other resources.
In January 2020 alone, the team made 725 contacts with individuals experiencing homelessness. Of those, 495 were determined to not be from Santa Ana. Additionally, The Link, a 200-bed shelter funded by the City of Santa Ana, has placed 118 homeless individuals in housing. The City hosts a total of 785 year-round shelter beds, as well as a 200-bed winter shelter at the Armory. As of fall 2019, Santa Ana had 408 units of homeless supportive housing and approximately 1,600 units of affordable housing.
The City has taken legal action against the County of Orange and other entities to curb the influx of homeless into Santa Ana.
“Santa Ana should and does provide shelter beds for its own homeless population, but I am opposed to opening any new shelters to house homeless individuals who come here from outside of our city,” Ward 1 Councilmember Vicente Sarmiento said.
Ward 2 Councilmember David Penaloza stated: “The Board of Supervisors owes an apology to the residents of Santa Ana. For the past year, I have been yelling from the mountaintops that we need to hold the County accountable and demand that they stop dumping their homeless problem on the residents of Santa Ana.”
“This resolution may be largely symbolic, but the homelessness crisis in Santa Ana and throughout Orange County is very real,” said Ward 3 Councilmember Jose Solorio. “I’m optimistic that more cities will ultimately do the right thing and develop shelters, permanent supportive housing units, and drug and mental health treatment programs for their homeless residents.”
“The City of Santa Ana, its residents and its businesses cannot continue to shoulder the disproportionate impacts that the homeless crisis is having in Orange County, while our neighbors to the south do very minimal to address it, if anything at all,” Ward 4 Councilmember Phil Bacerra said.
Mayor Pro Tem Juan Villegas of Ward 5 stated: “This resolution shows the City Council is united in its stance against the Yale Street homeless shelter and the transport of homeless into our community, but we must give it teeth by aggressively pursuing other solutions.”
“This resolution is a start, but we need to use every legal tool at our disposal to send a stronger message to the County and tell them that the buck stops here,” Ward 6 Councilmember Cecilia Iglesias said. “We are living in a state of emergency here in Santa Ana.”