Santa Ana Shows Off New Homeless Shelter

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Santa Ana officials today showed off a new homeless shelter in the city that they hope will tide them over until a bigger facility can be built in a couple of years. The 200-bed shelter, called ``The Link,'' includes four dormitories and bathrooms with showers. The shelter serves as temporary housing for the homeless as officials try to transfer them into more permanent housing. 

The facility at 2320 Red Hill Ave. was put together in 28 days and is expected to serve the area's transients for another 18 months to two years.

``This is a temporary shelter while we build a bigger one in partnership with the county,'' Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido said.``We decided we're just going to fast-track this one so this one is strictly funded by the city of Santa Ana,'' Pulido said. 

``But I believe it's going to save us a lot of money because it costs money to have the homeless in the community that you're having to deal with all of the time, so by actually taking them off the streets it will burden our  neighborhoods less, our businesses, our police, our parks and our churches. Everyone can go about their normal business and we're providing shelter for those that want one.''

The mayor noted that ``200 beds won't be enough and that's why we're doing the big facility with the county, but in the interim it will enable us to enforce our anti-camping ordinances,'' Pulido said.U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who has been presiding over litigation challenging anti-camping ordinances, has said he could issue a restraining order against the enforcement of those laws if cities cannot show they have enough beds to shelter their transients. Carter has been prodding the plaintiffs and political leaders to reach a settlement that avoids lengthy civil proceedings.

``Compliments to the Santa Ana City Council,'' said Orange County Board Chairman Andrew Do. 

``This is a courageous step to provide much-needed temporary shelter beds while the county and the city of Santa Ana work together to find a more permanent solution.''Do was impressed with how rapidly the city erected the facility.

``To be able to pull together a project of this magnitude in such a short time is unprecedented,'' Do said. 

``It will serve as a model for other cities to be able to see what's possible when we all work together.''Anaheim City Council members on Tuesday approved an expansion of a Salvation Army facility at 1300 S. Lewis St. That expansion would feature 200 beds with plans for a second phase of development that would turn into a 400-bed transitional shelter that provides more services aimed at getting transients into more permanent housing. 

The City Council put off another proposed site at 3431 E. La Palma Ave. until next Tuesday's meeting to consider options at funding it through private sources. The owner of a music store next to the Bridges at Kraemer Place suggested selling his business to the city so that facility could be expanded. 

On Friday, officials in Buena Park and Placentia announced they had received $12 million from the state to establish shelters in those cities.

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