The shuttered bus terminal in downtown Santa Ana that will be used as an emergency homeless shelter. Credit: Adam Elmahrek/Voice of OC

The Orange County Board of Supervisors Tuesday finalized the purchase of the abandoned bus terminal adjacent to Santa Ana Civic Center, but supervisors have yet to unveil a plan for what exactly they are going to do with it.

It’s widely assumed the terminal will become a temporary shelter and service center for the many homeless people who camp at the Civic Center. Certain supervisors – most notably John Moorlach in years past and Andrew Do most recently – have advocated for this approach as a way to reduce the number of homeless people camping in the Civic Center and give them some of the services they need.

However, while supervisors approved the $3.2 million purchase from the Orange County Transportation Authority during their regular meeting Tuesday, there was no discussion regarding concrete plans for the facility.

The county initiated the purchase last December, but because of a long escrow period did not make it available for homeless people during a time of intense El Niño storms in early January. After that week, Do pushed to get approval to open it even though it was still in escrow.

The facility was open — and county workers provided sleeping pads and food to homeless people — during the storms in late January and February.

Kaitlin Washburn is a news intern from the University of Missouri. She can be reached at

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