Regional Effort to Address Homelessness
In an effort to comply with a Federal Mandate as well as a recent case law, Martin v. Boise (2018), the North SPA, comprised of the cities of Placentia, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Orange, Villa Park, Stanton, and Yorba Linda are collaborating on a regional approach to address homelessness in the North SPA.
Based on the local mandate by U.S. District Federal Judge David Carter, cities in the North SPA are required to work on a homeless housing plan for the region, which shall include creating Navigation Centers designed to house and service North Orange County cities’ homeless population. The requirement for North SPA is to create Navigation Centers that would provide comprehensive supportive services including vocational services, recreational services, mental health, transportation services and 200 beds to the homeless residents of the North Orange County region. If cities do not comply with the mandate to add emergency housing, they will not legally be able to keep the homeless from creating an encampment in public areas, such as city halls, senior centers, parks and neighborhood sidewalks, including sidewalks in front of residents’ homes.
This decision along with the recent Orange County Federal Court case presiding under Judge Carter significantly limits the City’s ability to manage and control homeless proliferation and public camping in our community. In order to comply with these Federal requirements and court decisions, and to ensure that the City maintains local control over enforcement of its own anti-camping ordinance in public areas, including public sidewalks, the City of Placentia along with the North SPA cities have identified two potential locations for Navigation Centers– one in Placentia and one in Buena Park. The final location of the Navigation Center will be determined by identifying a location that is suitable for safely housing homeless as well as addressing the following factors: proximity to residential areas, cost of construction, and well managed operations. In addition, these Navigation Centers will be contingent upon receiving additional grant funding for the acquisition, construction improvements and ongoing operations and maintenance of the Navigation Centers. The City of Placentia will not be using any general fund dollars for the Navigation Center in the City and has thus far only secured the aforementioned grant funding, which is the first step in the process.
The management and operational plan for the Navigation Centers will specify certain requirements to ensure local control for providing safe and secure housing as well as providing comprehensive programs and services. The Navigation Centers will be referral-only based facilities with managed and controlled access in and out. The proposed Navigation Centers will work not only to house the homeless, but to provide health resources, job and social skills, and opportunities to reunite with friends and family, with the goal of integrating North Orange County’s homeless to become productive members of society while decreasing the number of homeless in public areas.
According to the most recent 2017 Point-in-Time count conducted by the County of Orange, there were approximately 4,792 people in Orange County whom have experienced homelessness (2,584 of whom were unsheltered) on any given night. This represents a 7% increase from 2015. The majority of Orange County’s homeless, whether male or female, are U.S. citizens and long-term Orange County residents of over 10 years vs. people who are brought to Orange County from other counties.
The City will seek additional public input as we examine the location and management of the proposed Navigation Center.