Homeless Shelter Could be Nixed by Santa Ana

A homeless person walks near the Walk of Honor at the Santa Ana Civic Center.  (Photo by: Violeta Vaqueiro)

Plans to put a homeless shelter near a school in eastern Santa Ana could be in jeopardy, after community members organized to oppose it.

Santa Ana City Council members now are scheduled to consider a moratorium on their zoning approval for a shelter in that part of the city.

The discussion comes after hundreds of residents expressed opposition during a community forum at a nearby school. Residents said the shelter was the wrong location, and that the working-class neighborhoods were already dealing with the persistent problems of drug use, gang activity and crime.

Senate Bill 2, passed by the state Senate in 2008, requires that cities and counties allow shelters and transitional housing for homeless people, including at least one large facility.

But having local governments implement the law has proved challenging. The county has struggled to find locations that don’t result in strident opposition from local residents fearful that homeless people will bring drugs, sex offenders and other problems to their communities.

Massimo Marini, an organizer with Civic Center Roundtable, a lobby group made up of homeless people, has decried the stereotypes that have accompanied the pushback against a homeless shelter in Santa Ana as tantamount to bigotry.

According to the meeting agenda, council members will consider the moratorium and researching alternative sites.

Read the council agenda here

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adamelmahrek