SANTA ANA, Calif. – Orange County supervisors Tuesday approved plans for a cold-weather shelter for transients that will be set up in Fullerton’s Independence Park.
The supervisors approved a contract with People Assisting the Homeless, or PATH, to operate the shelter for $595,112.
The move comes months after a deal that county officials struck with the Salvation Army to run a cold-weather shelter in Santa Ana fell apart following opposition from Santa Ana officials, who complained other cities in the county should shoulder more of the load of sheltering transients.
Fullerton City Councilman Ahmad Zahra told the supervisors that the shelter plans were unanimously approved by the Fullerton council.
“This is a park that needs renovations, may I add if the county is so inclined to show us some love,” Zahra said. “I feel confident that this will be adequately managed to safeguard the housed and unhoused in our area.”
Zahra said it was a stop-gap solution to the problem, but added he hoped for “future long-term solutions” to homelessness in the county.
Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee said he was “very pleased (that) Fullerton, my hometown, has stepped up to provide a cold weather shelter.”
Winter shelters were operated in the past at the armories in Santa Ana and Fullerton. The park was the backup for the armory in the city in the past.
The 90-bed shelter is expected to open on Feb. 1 and continue providing services through the end of March, according to Doug Becht of the Orange County Health Care Agency. Becht told the supervisors the shelter will be operated from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. and provide meals and a hot shower while also offering counseling for long-term care services to help transients get off the streets permanently.