NAVIGATION CENTER PLANS
Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of California mandated all counties to provide shelter for homeless families and individuals to help protect against community spread of the virus. Orange County was tasked with providing 2,300 beds across every city, ideally with their participation, and these beds have taken the form of trailers, hotel/motel rooms, and temporary shelters that have been paid for and managed by the County.
On April 20, 2020, Orange County entered into an Emergency Facility Use Agreement with the City of Huntington Beach to construct a 75-bed navigation center on City property at 17631 Cameron Lane. A navigation center provides temporary shelter, as well as referrals to comprehensive support services such as employment counseling, housing services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and transportation to get the homeless back on their feet. Per the Agreement, the County would develop the property to provide for the greatest safety in the surrounding neighborhood, including proper fencing and lighting, security guards on site 24/7, and one non-emergency access point off Beach Bl. Upon completion, the County would transfer the Center at no cost to the City, who would then contract with Mercy House to oversee operations.
Since April 2020, the City approached the County about expanding the navigation center onto an adjacent vacant parcel at 17642 Beach Boulevard. In total, the expanded center would accommodate 174 beds or 60% of Huntington Beach’s unsheltered homeless population. This is the number of beds that is needed to comply with the City’s pending Settlement Agreement with Federal District Court Judge David Carter, which will allow the City to begin enforcing our quality of life ordinances, such as encampments in public spaces.
To accommodate this navigation center expansion plan, the County agreed to size all mechanical equipment for the larger footprint and bear all of the on-site, utility, shelter installation, and associated development costs. In return, the City would develop the entire site, including use of County and City funds to purchase an additional tent structure, off-site improvements, expanded restroom/shower facilities, and furniture/fixtures/equipment. The City began construction on September 19, 2020, completed all work in less than 3 months, and began sheltering homeless adults on December 7, 2020.
Lastly, the City has been notified that incomplete and incorrect information about the environmental conditions of the site have been distributed throughout various social media platforms. To address these concerns, the City and EEC Environmental have prepared a fact sheet related to the environmental conditions and recent activities at the site.
LONG TERM PLAN:
In the long term, the Cameron Lane and Beach Boulevard properties will be repurposed for a permanent supportive housing (PSH) development that provides affordable housing to the chronically homeless, paired with services to help achieve social and economic stability. As these plans are solidified over the coming years, they will be shared on this website.