Room at the Armory
The Armory cold weather emergency homeless shelter operated by the non-profit Mercy House opened for the winter months on December 17th. Two hundred shelter beds are offered nightly, when the facility is not being used by the National Guard.
This decision was made in response to two Federal Court cases, Orange County Catholic Worker v. County of Orange and Martin v. City of Boise which state that, if no shelter beds are available, a city is prevented from enforcing local ordinances regarding overnight camping in parks and public spaces.
No enforcement could lead to homeless encampments like the previous ones at the Hunt Branch Library and the Santa Ana Riverbed.
In an effort to alleviate safety concerns of neighbors, the city has added new operational requirements to include no walk-up traffic (shuttle buses from other locations are now required); enhanced intake and assessment services to start the process to get individuals permanently off the streets; and reimbursement for security patrols in the neighborhoods around the armory and adjacent parks.
“As we move forward with solutions to homelessness, Fullerton and the North Orange County cities are best served by having the Armory open to provide alternative shelter for those in need,” stated Fullerton City Manager, Ken Domer.
While no permanent homeless shelters are planned to be built in Fullerton, the city will have access to two planned shelters in Buena Park and Placentia called “Navigation Centers” which are scheduled to be opened by 2019.
A Navigation Center combines overnight sheltering with intake and assessment services as a means to quickly determine the best next-step housing, placement and needed medical or supportive services for a homeless individual. A Navigation Center is designed to be a first-step approach to helping an individual get off the street, and as quickly as possible get out of traditional sheltering into a more stable and supportive environment.
These proposed “Navigation Centers” will be funded by $12.1 million from the State Homeless Emergency Aid Program. For more information visit the Homeless Solutions webpage at www.cityoffullerton.com/homeless