For the second year in a row, a federal cash shortage might force the early closure of two National Guard armories that serve as emergency winter shelters for about 400 homeless Orange County adults.

The winter shelter program is supposed to run from early December until April 1, but federal officials informed the county that funds could run out by March 1, said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach. So far, Congress has not approved annual legislation that provides the funds.

Moorlach said last week he and county staff are trying to identify potential sources for the $300,000 needed to keep the armory shelters in Santa Ana and Fullerton running through March. The issue is expected to be on the board’s Feb. 28 agenda.

Last year, partisan fighting in Congress delayed passage of a federal budget, and as a result the armories had to close at the end of March one week earlier than expected.

The county also is considering using an empty bus station across the street from the Civic Center as a year-round shelter if a program can be developed that is agreeable to Santa Ana.

— TRACY WOOD

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