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Navigation Center FAQ's

Background/Timing

What is the proposed Huntington Beach Navigation Center?

The proposed Huntington Beach Navigation Center ("Center") is a homeless shelter facility at 15311 Pipeline Lane. The vacant 11,200 square-foot industrial building would provide approximately 75 to 90 beds. We can offer more beds at this location than the previous site on Research Drive because of the increased square footage, while meeting general intent of the Court.

The proposed facility will provide emergency beds and navigation services according to the needs and capabilities of each homeless individual. The Center will provide a stable setting for Case Managers to interview and oversee the residents in order to facilitate connections with employment, housing providers, mental health services and address other impediments to stable housing. Case Managers will be employed by an experienced non-profit in shelter management. The long-term goal is to provide clients with the resources they need to permanently transition off the streets.

Where will the proposed Huntington Beach Navigation Center be located?

The City's plan for a Navigation Center was made with the goal of minimizing impact on residents, schools and parks. As a result, the search area included available properties in the SB 2 industrial zones that also allowed for a 1000 ft. "buffer zone" between residential/mixed use, school and park areas.

View Specific Navigation Center Location Buffers Map

View City of HB Site Map with All Buffers

Why do we need a Navigation Center?

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the County of Orange and numerous Orange County cities for the lack of emergency shelter beds to house homeless individuals and families. A majority of the lawsuits were consolidated and assigned to the Federal District Court in Santa Ana. The City of Huntington Beach has not been sued at this time. The Federal District Court, however, has made it clear that an injunction will be issued against a City that enforces its anti-camping, trespassing and loitering ordinances against homeless individuals if there is no immediately-available secular bed at the time of enforcement.

The City cannot currently enforce its anti-camping ordinances, which exacerbates our homeless problems and hinders the City's ability to provide safe, clean and appealing public parks and open spaces. It has been made clear that if Huntington Beach fails to act swiftly, it is probable that we will be joined as a defendant in the litigation. This could lead to an order requiring an even higher number of shelter beds.

The City of Huntington Beach, like cities across the state, has seen an increase in homeless individuals over the past several years. Since 2015, our Homeless Task Force has assisted these individuals in getting off the streets and into stable housing. Although law enforcement helps manage daily issues, it is not a long-term answer to homelessness. Creating a Navigation Center will further support the work already being performed by the City's Homeless Task Force.

What criteria was used for the site's selection?

The criteria used for site selection was: 1) available sites in the Industrial Zone; 2) existing properties that met the space requirements needed for a shelter facility. An extensive search was conducted by the City, and nearly 30 sites were reviewed, industrial brokers were contacted, and the entire industrial zone was searched for sites.

When would the Center open?

It is anticipated the Center will be open later this year.

Which shelters have been visited by either the City Council or staff?

The City Council and/or staff have visited Bridges at Kraemer Place in Anaheim, The Link in Santa Ana, the interim Salvation Army site in Anaheim, La Mesa in Anaheim, Illumination Foundation's shelter in Midway City, Rescue Mission in Tustin, the Lighthouse Church in Costa Mesa, and Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas.

How was the shelter size determined?

The shelter size will serve 75-90 of our unsheltered homeless population.

Will the placement of a shelter devalue surrounding properties?

The City is not aware of any empirical data that suggests that placing a shelter site devalues neighboring properties. In fact, it can be argued that the availability of a shelter facility reduces blight, homeless encampments, unsightly debris, and increases overall safety. These betterments will actually help to make the community safer. Safer communities have better property values.

What are other communities doing? Are we the only ones being forced to do a shelter?

The homeless crisis is a statewide challenge. In Orange County, nine other cities have been sued for the lack of shelter beds, and they have either already opened a shelter or are in process of identifying a site. In addition, 11 other cities in North Orange County that have not yet been sued are also developing shelter sites to avoid litigation. As Huntington Beach is the fourth largest City in the County, the Federal District Court has made it clear the City will not be able to enforce its laws if shelter beds are not available.


Funding

When was the site at 15311 Pipeline Lane purchased by the City?

The City Council approved the purchase of the facility on April 18, 2019 and the City is now in process of finalizing the purchase.

How will the City fund the Center?

The City is utilizing one-time funds and Federal funding sources.

Will the proposed shelter be City-funded or privately funded?

The proposed shelter will be financed by a variety of funding sources with the goal of maximizing state and county funding and private donations.


Shelter Operations and Logistics

Who can use the shelter?

The 75-90 beds at this location will be for adult men, women and couples with ties to the City. Every individual will be screened and undergo an approval process prior to being accepted at the Center. The Center will only receive clients on a referral-basis; walk-ins (and walk-outs) will not be permitted. The City's Police Department and Homeless Task Force Case Managers will take the lead in making referrals. No registered sex offenders (290's) or individuals with open felony warrants will be permitted. In addition, no drugs, alcohol or weapons will be permitted inside the Center (limited storage outside the facility will be available for personal belongings). All individuals must be capable of caring for themselves in order to be admitted.

Who will manage the Center?

The City of Huntington Beach will select an experienced service provider to operate and manage the Center. This will ensure minimal impact to the surrounding community. A management, operations, and public safety plan will be created to guide the operation of the Center. The City will hire a qualified Security firm to provide additional 24/7 site security, and there will be a 24-hour live hotline for people to call to report concerns, if needed.

What hours will the Center operate?

The site will be staffed around-the-clock with strict operating requirements. The Huntington Beach Police Department will oversee the development of a detailed security plan. Typically, intakes and discharges (by arranged transportation only) will take place during normal business hours.

Will the Center serve families? Why not?

At this time, it is not expected the Center will serve families and children based on the demographic data of homeless clients collected by our Homeless Task Force. The largest homeless demographic in our City is single adult men and women, hence that is the population we plan to serve in the Center. Families and children will continue to be served through outreach services provided through the City's Homeless Task Force.

Will Veterans have first dibs on shelter placement and access to services?

Fortunately, the City does not have a large number of homeless Veterans. However, when the Homeless Task Force does encounter a Veteran, an immediate referral is made to specialized resources for them. They are then connected with the various agencies available throughout the county to ensure they are connected with resources dedicated specifically to them.

What would the average length of stay for an individual be at the shelter while looking for available housing?

Based on discussions with shelter providers regarding their current operations at similar facilities, the average projected length of stay is 79 days. The projections for available permanent housing to facilitate their transfer continually fluctuate. Residents at the Center will be permitted to stay up to 90 days (assuming they abide by Center rules), but their time may be extended if they are actively in process to arrange housing.

When homeless clients want to leave and get shuttled out will they be returned back to our beaches and parks in the form of a day pass? Will they be back at the beach by day and at the shelter by night?

The Navigation Center is designed to help individuals create housing plans and create connections with resources to that end. Shuttles will be utilized to transport clients to services they need, not for recreational purposes. Shelter occupants are generally prohibited from returning if they violate any Center rules. Prior to admission, shelter occupants must agree to the Center's rules and regulations, including no walk-outs or walk-ins.

Will volunteers be allowed at the shelter?

The City will retain an operator to run the shelter. The operator will determine the need for volunteers after the shelter has opened.

Will there be enough parking?

In that homeless clients will be dropped off at the facility, the City anticipates ample parking in the designated area for Center staff. For individuals living in their vehicles who are seeking placement at the facility, the agreed upon management operations and security plan will address how those vehicles will be stored.

How will you be addressing healthcare for the homeless, including substance abuse and mental health issues?

Homeless clients needing medical attention, or mental health assistance will receive treatment from programs offered through the County of Orange and other agencies.

What will be done to ensure the surrounding business community is well-maintained, and residential home values and safety are protected?

The City is working diligently with the Police Department, Public Works, Code Enforcement and all other City departments to ensure that the surrounding community is protected from any secondary effects of the proposed facility. A "Good Neighbor" Policy will be created to establish good relations and open communication and to help ensure problems are quickly addressed so that the Center will not negatively impact neighbors. A 24-hour hotline will be available to allow residents to communicate problems they observe.

Additional measures include intensive design of facility improvements, the installation of secure perimeter fencing, 24-hour on-site security and service provider staff around the clock for surveying the surrounding areas. The City will have final authority and control of on-site security requirements and procedures which will be developed in collaboration with the operator selected for the Center and the Police Department. Lastly, loitering will not be permitted and enforced by on-site security and police patrols in the area.


Safety/Security

What will be done to ensure homeless can only leave by shuttle or vehicle and not by foot?

Based on conversations with numerous shelter operators and cities about current procedures at similar facilities, clients are not permitted to enter or exit the facility on foot. Instead, transportation must be arranged by motor vehicle (i.e. shelter shuttle, Uber, Lyft, police transport, etc.) Staff will provide routine updates to the City Council on the progress of the shelter before, during, and after commencement of operations. Additionally, the Center will have 24/7 on-site security and the Police Department's Homeless Liaison Officers will increase their presence in this area once the Center is occupied.

What is the protocol for individuals deciding, despite the rules, to 'walk up' for services and a bed? How will that be handled and by whom?

Most homeless clients are aware of the 'no walk-ins' or 'no walk-outs' policies of shelters throughout the County. Hence, this is not a common occurrence in other cities with similar shelters. However, if this happens, the selected shelter operator will be responsible for having such individuals transported to an in-take center to be screened or to an armory or other location that allows walk up clients. Anti-camping, loitering, and trespassing laws will be enforced by Huntington Beach Police.

What will be done to ensure the surrounding community receives further information about the details of the proposed shelter?

Staff conducted two Open House informational meetings for Huntington Beach residents and businesses. The first took place on Tuesday, April 9 at 4 p.m. at the site for businesses around the area. The second meeting was held at the Central Library on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to noon. A public study session was held in City Council chambers on April 15, 2019 and a City Council vote on the matter was held publicy on April 18, 2019. Information will continue to be posted on the City's website.

What happens to those that do not want to go to the Center? Will laws be enforced?

Yes. Anti-camping, trespassing and loitering laws can be enforced when there is an available shelter bed in the area for those in need.

Every enforcement action is dependent on the unique situation. It is important to note that being homeless in and of itself is not a crime. If a crime has been committed, however, action within the law will be taken.

When the homeless are "removed" from their encampments, what happens to their property such as tents, bikes and trash?

Currently, items left on public property are stored for a period of 90 days to be claimed by the individual. There will be storage available on site for personal belongings at the proposed Navigation Center.

How will this effort be enforced with those who are parked on our streets and at our parks with RVs and cars? Will they be removed and impounded?

The Navigation Center will be designed to assist adult individuals or couples with ties to the City regardless of whether they reside on the streets or in a vehicle. All parking regulations and permit requirements apply equally to all City residents regardless of where they are housed. The shelter management, operations and security will address how parking needs will be addressed with the City's input.





Did you know?


The Homeless Task Force has helped more than 259 individuals off the streets and assisted more than 70 individuals reconnect with their loved ones.

Homelessness

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Homeless Task Force Contact Information

Cathy Lukehart
Outreach Coordinator
Phone: (714) 536-5583

Michael Kelly
Outreach Case Manager
Phone: (714) 536-5576

Lisa Roberts
Outreach Case Manager
Phone: (714) 536-5576

Hayley Yantorn
Outreach Case Manager
Phone: (714) 536-5576

HB PD Liaison Officers:
Phone: (714) 316-6730
Officer Gabe Ricci
Officer Daniel Chichester
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