Local Government

One-Year Agreement with Illumination Foundation for Homeless Shelter Services

According to City Manager Eric Levitt, the Illumination Foundation facility is now being used primarily as a recuperative care facility. According to Councilmember Silva, “the Foundation recovers the majority of their costs through recuperative beds.”

During public comment, Curtis Gamble, an activist for the homeless, said he does not support the deal with Illumination Foundation, and that the money could help more homeless people through housing/motel vouchers, cash cards, establishing a safe parking program, and building tiny homes on city-owned land.

Resident Tanya McCrory asked, “How is Illumination Foundation justifying doubling the cost in one year’s time for the exact same service?” She said the city needs a clearer and more transparent report from them.

Councilmember Zahra agreed, saying, “I am in favor of looking at getting more of a public report…I think we’ve asked for this before, but never really got that.”

The meeting ended with a moment of silence in memory of commissioner Pat McNelly, who passed away recently.

Council voted 4-1 (Whitaker “no”) to approve a one-year agreement with Illumination Foundation to provide 20 shelter beds for Fullerton homeless individuals at $80 per day for a total cost of $584,000. This will be paid with funding the City received from the American Rescue Plan Act.

In 2020, Council approved an agreement with Illumination Foundation to provide services at their center located at 3535 West Commonwealth. The city contributed $500,000 for building improvements. The facility was originally planned to have 60 recuperative care beds and 90 shelter beds. The original agreement did not require Illumination Foundation to shelter Fullerton’s homeless.

In 2021, the City entered into an agreement with Illumination Foundation to provide shelter bed services for Fullerton residents at a bed rate of $40 per day. This agreement ended in July of 2022.

1 reply »

  1. Transparency here would be useful. There was at least one City Council member who said at a meeting last year that the price of putting someone into the Fullerton Navigation Center was then (2021) $70/bed (so $80/bed is $10 more but not 2x more…)

    The $40/bed price seems to be closer to what what the Buena Park Navigation Shelter charges, but the BPNS has an almost shockingly awful success rate. Only about 5-10% of the people who go there end up moving up to transitional housing. IF claims to have a 70-75% success rate.

    But none of this means much without transparency.

    And I would encourage the Fullerton Observer to continue talking to IF / the City and perhaps we can come to see a solution.

    What I do objectively see is a facility with 90 navigation beds (and 60 additional recuperative care beds, that pretty much every senior sleeping on our streets would be eligible for) in a city with 200+ people sleeping on the streets each day (by the 2022 PIT Count) and the city choosing to contract for only 20 of those beds.

    I at least understand this to mean that the City Council has chosen to keep 200 people sleeping on its streets essentially forever.

    The FNC isn’t the only way to go. As Curtis Gamble suggested hotel vouchers would be better (though more expensive, though again probably more effective).

    But right now the BP / Placentia shelters are always full, this one is almost always largely empty and 200+ people languish sleeping on our streets to the consternation of all.