Orange County asked Military to Extend use of Armories to Shelter Homeless People
In April, two National Guard armories in Orange County that were being used as temporary homeless shelters during the night were asked to be used for 90 more days. A federal judge deemed the extension necessary to shelter the people displaced from longtime encampments at the Santa Ana River and Santa Ana’s Civic Center. The winter shelter programs at both the Santa Ana and Fullerton armories were scheduled to end on April 15 with the arrival of warmer weather. The request was rare, but the California Military Department gave its approval. Susan Price, the director of care coordination who began overseeing the Orange County’s planning and execution of homeless services in 2016, stated,
There’s people that go to the armory that have been homeless for awhile. You’ll see them year after year. You don’t see them at the other shelters. What they really want is meals, a warm bed, some human contact.
According to the Orange County Register, among the 10 cities where armories are used as winter shelter for homeless people, eight are located in three Southern California counties: Inglewood, Lancaster, Los Angeles and Pomona; Fullerton and Santa Ana; and Ventura. There were originally 16 armories were used as shelters when the winter shelter program began in 1987. Orange County requested the extension due to concerns that existing county-run and county-contracted shelters would not be able to handle a sudden increase of people resulting from recent actions to clear the county’s two largest homeless encampments. It costs $9,000 a night to operate the program at both the Santa Ana and Fullerton armories. According to Price, the county anticipates the three-month extension will cost $600,000 to $800,000. Hopefully, the extended use of the armories helps out as many people as possible.