Santana: Welcome to Orange County’s ‘Courtyard Transitional Center’

After nearly two years of public prodding, and most probably because of all the wrong reasons, Orange County supervisors this week may actually start doing the right thing on homelessness.

This Tuesday, supervisors are scheduled to create hundreds of new, temporary beds available to those in need at the Civic Center in downtown Santa Ana.

I’ve been publicly raising questions about whether an abandoned bus terminal near the Civic Center could work as a resource center for homeless people.

Now, according to public documents filed late last week, it looks as if the bus terminal has a more uplifting name.

Welcome to Orange County’s “Courtyard Transitional Center.”

I hope and pray it becomes a place where lives turn around.

According to the supervisors’ supplemental meeting agenda, it looks as if the county will contract with LA’s Midnight Mission and CityNet to open the bus terminal as a resource center of sorts with space for up to 300 beds. And, according to public documents, it will have a healthy budget of $1.4 million in general fund dollars.

According to the publicly posted contract negotiated with the Midnight Mission, it looks as if the money will be used to provide “safety net services, including shelter and connections to service providers.”

The contract also makes some interesting and refreshingly frank admissions on storage and security that I think go a long way toward getting help to the right people.

It notes the goal is to “be low-barrier and engagement rich to provide people experiencing homelessness a pathway to service connections, health care, housing and stability.”

According to the contract, during the day the courtyards will be utilized as a
drop-in center, “serving an estimated 250 to 450 guests seeking a safe place, service connections, hygiene services, showers and restrooms, a meal, and place to rest.”

At night, the center will be used as an overnight shelter, which according to the contract, “may accommodate up to 300 beds.”

The Courtyard Transitional Center is expected to be open 24/7, 365 days a year.

From the agenda documents and contracts I reviewed, it looks like the “The Courtyard,” as the documents rename the area, is straightforward.

“The site can be accessed by walking in. Up to 300 nightly beds will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis. A space plan will be drafted for the site to ensure a degree of privacy by gender, those with a pet, or couples. The goal will be to provide a safe, secure sleeping area to those in need. It is anticipated that the service needs of most of the homeless guests to be high, and have developed staffing plans based on addressing those needs while keeping everyone safe.”

According to the main contract, the Midnight Mission will “expect that guests will be allowed to bring a personal sized bag/box/sack/luggage (approximately the size of a knapsack) into their sleeping area.”

Additionally, the contract stipulates that an on-site storage area will be provided for items such as shopping carts, bicycles and other larger items.

The storage area will provide guests with a bin.

County officials — primarily through Community Resources, Health Care Agency and Social Services — will coordinate the on-going process.

The contract notes the expertise that all three agencies have built up in the area over recent years and calls on public workers and executives to help lead the development of best practices for running the center.

The contract also highlights the seriousness of responsible storage — in order for homeless people to trust the facility and use it.

“CONTRACTOR recognizes that guests value their belongings, and CONTRACTOR will work with every guest to find the balance between creating a safe and sanitary environment while honoring the value of personal possessions.”

There also seems to be a healthy attention to security while being flexible to the situation. Note that the center part of the bus terminal was historically used as a deputy sheriff station.

According to the contract, “security is in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help provide a peaceful environment for those seeking services and respite from the streets.”

In addition to the proposed large item storage and the bed storage, Midnight Mission officials may also make small-box storage available at the security desk, which consists of no-questions-asked “safe-store” boxes for any guests who wish to safely store personal items.

According to public documents, services to be provided include:

  • An open table feeding area.
  • Open table hydration and warm beverage station.
  • Hygiene Facilities.
  • Donation area with volunteer/donor engagement.

On-site service provision and linkages will include, but not be limited to:

  • Orange County Social Services Agency
  • Health Care Agency
  • Continuum of Care agencies
  • Veterans Services
  • Collaborative Courts
  • Legal services

County officials also must have been satisfied with their environmental reviews during the escrow before purchasing the facility (although they have never said anything publicly) because in the contract they agree to cover all users on any toxic-related lawsuits.

So it looks as if we have a decent start. One where new players – Midnight Mission and CityNet – are being introduced to local homelessness service delivery and a new multi-use facility  is being quickly deployed to respond to the situation.

Earlier this month, supervisors also announced another contract with Mercy House to operate a homeless shelter in Anaheim.

Yet we still need a public strategy.

Voice of OC is considering convening a regional conference on homelessness. The aim would be to learn why other places — like Salt Lake City Utah, Phoenix, Arizona and San Antonio — seem to have made real strides in ending street life for so many while we haven’t.

Given this year’s election calendar, we could also ask our county and city officials to join us and offer their own plans for combating the crisis.

What do you think?

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  • James Weaver

    On this chilling, wet day, in Santa Ana, my six year old son and I went to the new COURTYARD TRANSITIONAL CENTER to obtain a meal, from our OVERSEERS, from the City of Los Angeles’ MIDNIGHT MISSION. However, we were accosted by several hoodlums, claiming that they were employed by the MIDNIGHT MISSION, and my child was not welcomed and could NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO EAT. A plastic bread bag was filled with two bagels, a couple pieces of candy and two small containers of cream cheese. Being unemployed, I had wanted to go to work, in our community based shelter, which is in the hands of the CITY OF LOS ANGELES’ MIDNIGHT MISSION. The City of Santa Ana has implemented a regulation, that our church groups, et al. would NOT be permitted to feed in the Civic Center Plaza, and MUST use the COURTYARD TRANSITIONAL CENTER, to feed homeless/needy hungry people. Nonetheless, my six year old child was denied access to a meal…Thank you, City of Santa Ana/County of Orange, for bringing in these insensitive thugs, from L.A. to manage and work OUR SHELTER. At least, the way it was, a hungry kid could get a little bit of food to eat.

  • Jacki Livingston

    Even worse is the fraud, each quarter, where they doctor the numbers and lie to get maximum amounts of money from us, the taxpayers. It is fraud, and the feds do nothing, they let them get away with it. As far as I am concerned, Mike Ryan, Debra Baetz and all the others should be in a jail cell.

  • Meg

    As a service provider who is at the Civic Center every Saturday, I would absolutely LOVE to see this conference happen. The needs of our homeless extend far beyond employment, food, and even shelter. The city’s culpability is staggering. It’s refusal to represent and realistically and humanely address the needs of its most vulnerable citizens is not only shameful, but has contributed to the problem.

    • Jacki Livingston

      The homeless are NOT the most vulnerable citizens. You want to know who that is? They are the thousands of people, helpless people, living in the filthy, vermin infested, understaffed and disgusting nursing homes in this county. THOSE people are being raped, robbed and killed, and this website has joined with the County politicians in ignoring what is happening. They have been given tons of proof, there have been other papers and reporters doing digging, but no one is dealing with it. I lost my career at SSA, because of my refusal to look the other way as the bigshots steal money from patients and taxpayers and line their pockets with this money, as the patients lie there in diapers full of urine and feces, with bedsores six inches across, and dropped on their heads, or found molested. VoC doesn’t want to hear it, and the politicos all are making money. Where is the conference for them? They have no voice. Save your culpability tears for them.

      • James Weaver

        Human beings are the most important and valuable resource this country has. Ignoring them, wherever and whoever they are should be a crime. Can’t we all just agree that in many areas of our community, many people are suffering and desperately need the attention and assistance of our civic leaders?

        • Jacki Livingston

          A society shall be judged by how they treat their children and elderly, and on that front, we fail…miserably. I lost my entire career, because I spoke up and stopped the abuse in the facility in Garden Grove. No one is going to risk what I went through.

    • James Weaver

      True that….

  • James Weaver

    We’ll see how it goes, once it’s up and running. If it’s anything like the Armory, it’ll be staffed by Hispanics, who’ll undoubtedly treat African Americans like fifth class citizens, a serious problem that has existed in Orange County for over 30 years. The situation is so awful that, Orange County Jails have to segregate Black inmates, for their safety. Now, the county’s civic leaders are entrusting 1.4 million dollars to further perpetuate the racism, that has rapidly grown all over southern California. African Americans desperately need a voice in how its segment of the homeless population is going to be treated. Personally, I foresee the management/staff of the Courtyard Transitional Center (CTC) deliberately discriminating against Blacks, like the armory had, and forcing them deeper into obscurity. I’m praying that, as with the jails and prisons, the upcoming riots, in the CTC, doesn’t kill off the remaining Black populace, effectively eliminating those who haven’t been driven out of town.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Bingo! I remember being told by a Hispanic senior manager (most managers at SSA are Hispanic, and a lot of them are related by blood or marriage) that the only clients we were allowed to question or give a hard time about fraud were Black clients, because ‘if their lips are moving, they are probably lying to you’, and that Black single moms who declare no income are usually ‘turning tricks or dealing drugs on the side’. That person is very high up on the Organizational Chart.

      • James Weaver

        Much of what goes on in the work force in Orange County, especially in Santa Ana, is built on nepotism/la raza… If anyone notices, many of the jobs are filled by Hispanics. When Blacks answer help wanted ads, they’re not hired, despite the employer’s need for a helper. Renting an apartment is similarly biased. The plan is to relocate Blacks in Orange County. They’re not hired Blacks or renting to them. This, the Black community has rapidly grown homeless. Then, the programs designed to assist the needy discourage Blacks and deliberately make it difficult for them to meet their criteria for assistance. And, no one is going to come to the Blacks aid, to remedy this injustice, because of their misconceived ideas that Blacks are all on drugs, alcoholics, criminals, etc. Even Black community leaders ignore the plights of Blacks in Orange County. If there are any such groups/organizations out there, that’ll assist a Black, tell me about ’em.

        • No one will care

          Please forgive me because I’m posting on my cell phone… Jackie Livingston and James Weaver statements are true. I am a recent retiree from SSA as a Adminstive Manager. The ASAP Division that administers Med-Cal, Foodstamps, IHSS , Adult Protected Services(APS) (IHSS and APS have no support from the ASAP Division) are known as a cluster mess. Yes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had to be implemented, along with a faulty State Computer System which Counties had no choice to opt out of. But the failure was those in Orange County who were already in place and incompetent SSA ASAP Managers assigned to take the lead to complete this challenge. It was difficult. BUT, like prior to ACA , cronyism was going strong. Oden Sanchez (AM11) was still able to do his sleeze ball stuff. All supported by Mary Jones, Donna Henderson, Debra Bates and Brigette Mclellan (all Deputies)…..Cronyism is alive and well in SSA…..AND where are the African Americans in upper management in SSA? Orange County still has African Americans that need to be represented. I’ve often wondered what happened to the large African American Community that resided in Santa Ana back in the day……

          • James Weaver

            With the closing of the Marine base, in Tustin, many Blacks moved to other communities that housed the military. And, for many Blacks, it was cheater to live in communities like Corona, Moreno Valley, etc. Coupled with the blatantly overt racism in the O.C., economically, Blacks can’t afford to live in the O.C. Even with the ostensible ‘housing programs’ that are available to Blacks, it’s extremely difficult renting an apartment when the management (often a foreigner) deliberately discriminates against you. Yesterday, I even came across an agency (Off The Streets), that refused to assist me. Now, that’s really saying a lot about a community, when agencies designed to help you turns it’s back on you. Check ’em all out: American Family Housing, Illumination Foundation, the list is endless.

          • No one will care

            Thank you Mr. Weaver. Closing of the Marine Base is something I never considered, but it makes sense. I’m sure the closing of the Naval Base in Long Beach/Seal Beach has had the same impact. I was born in 1958 and raised in Anaheim and its difficult to see our neighborhoods change in a way that seems to be disrespectful of our history and to those who remain. I know its a different face of people and nothing stays the same but at least when things did change we were all able to communicate with each other. It doesn’t seem to be that easy anymore, but I continue to keep trying. I’m hopeful your situation for you and your son will be fruitful. Never give up and keep moving forward.

          • James Weaver

            Thank you…If only more citizens cared.

          • Jacki Livingston

            Hallow! THANK YOU! I spent six years being raked over the burning flames at the agency and Odon (Prince of Evil) and all of the others lied about me and destroyed my career. I read what you posted and sat down and cried, it meant so much to me to have one person speak up and validate what I have been saying. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

          • Jacki Livingston

            And thank you for your statements about Sanchez. I feel he is one of the very worst of the lot, and he is on his way to becoming director of the agency, and the man is truly evil. He is well known for his sexual misconduct, violent temper, assault, threats and career destruction of anyone who dares to defy him. I had more than a few managers who hugged me, in tears, apologizing for the things that they were forced to do to me, because of him, and he threatened the careers of so many people. He is known for throwing chairs at women in staff, of blatant lies under oath, and sexual acts with subordinates. Thank you.

  • OCservant_Leader

    Acknowledgement of the problem is the first step. This is about 20 years too late for the family in power to finally act.
    The article suggests professionals from public agencies are collaborating? No. This is literally a “family” of appointees of the BOS. Why not identify them?
    Director Community Resources – BOS EA – (Steve Franks) supervises CEO’s wife
    Director HCA Admin & Finances – BOS EA – (Anna Peters) supervises her mentor Steve Frank’s wife
    Director HCA Budget – (Dee Dee Franks) Steve’s current wife supervises CEO’s sister
    Director HCA Contracts – CEO’s sister (Susie Kim)
    Just these four “family” members are pulling down over a Million dollars annually. Are they the most qualified and experts in their fields? Nope. Is it just a coincidence they are related? Not a chance.
    They appoint and promote each other and sign each other’s time sheets. This is their expertise. They will become multi-millionares. Not bad for public servants. They are not elected and are untouchable as BOS appointees.
    This is a great example of how cronyism and nepotism creates organized crime in the public sector.

    • LFOldTimer

      Thanks for reporting on all the inter-familial relationships at the top of the County food chain. I had no idea there were so much DNA overlap. I can only imagine what their annual performance evals must look like. Impeccable. How would a department head discipline the wife of his overseer? ha. With great restraint. So I assume that none of those jobs fall under the EEO regs? Non competitive? Sweet. All in the family. Your tax dollars at work. Sort of reminds me of the old Public Guardian office. The more things change the more they stay the same.

      Again, I feel like I’m living in Tijuana. Not even sure if Tijuana’s Municipal government is this bad.

      • OCservant_Leader

        The public is wondering how did this public health/safety crisis continue at the OC civic center for so long and where is the Billion dollar infusion from MHSA?
        The funds intended for public services are being diverted to maintain the family’s power in the OC.
        Detailing how the cronyism and nepotism creates organized crime in the OC bureaucracy will allow the public to peer behind the concrete curtain this OC BOS so desperately does not want you to see.
        Across the Country citizens are shocked by the police shootings of unarmed black men in the back. How can the public organizations circle the wagons, stonewall the public and protect the killers?
        It’s organized crime in the public sector. Hiring incompetents by nepotism/cronyism sets up poor management, secrecy and an organization that is corrupted will protect it’s own interests at any cost. This is what we are seeing in the OC.

        • LFOldTimer

          All I know is that if my ______ (dad, mom, husband, wife, brother sister, etc…) was the big boss and I was under the direct supervision of some department flunkie who answered to my ______ (dad, mom, husband, wife, brother, sister, etc…) that I could pretty much make my own hours, decide my own workload, quantify my own pay raises/promotions and write my own performance evals with impunity.

          If what you say is true (and I have no reason to doubt it) they’ve turned County government into a menagerie of a DNA melting pot. Since the taxpayers funds all these government positions, government jobs were always supposed to be competitive and go to the very best candidates (whether appointed or hire though competitive testing). Well, that myth has sure been debunked by the behavior that you’ve ascribed to those at the top of the county food chain.

          And to claim that my _______ (wife, husband, brother, sister, son, daughter, etc..) is the most qualified and capable one for the $100,000+ job is about as laughable as it gets.

          The best and the brightest! 🙂

          Tijuana can’t be any worse than this. It can’t be. My, my how times change!!!

          • Jacki Livingston

            Direct quote from email sent to me by a senior manager (Prince of Evil) scum, during the height of the fiscal crisis: “SSA management doesn’t give a damn about taxpayers! The more they pay, the better off we all are! Stop worrying about fraud, Jacki, and just give the benefits to anyone who asks for them! If they are not eligible, find a way to make them eligible!

            SSA senior managers view our ultimate employers, the taxpayers, as their personal, annoying, ATM machine. We were ordered to falsify monthly reports, to inflate numbers and to ignore suspected fraud and other abuse that cost taxpayers money.

            I still have the emails and written orders from senior managers, including those telling us to lie on our monthly reports.

          • James Weaver

            Why haven’t you submitted these things to the media, who I’m sure would like to report it to the public. They’re always looking for a good story, to generate dialogue and controversy. Taxpayers deserve to know the truth about how their money is being dispersed. Don’t you think…?

          • Jacki Livingston

            I have given boxes of these files to VoC. Ask Norberto why he has never used it.

          • James Weaver

            Norberto Santana is, of course, one of them…It’s no wonder why he is withholding information about this crisis. I understand their agenda. Journalism never has been fair. The powerful influence all the media. Always has…

          • Jacki Livingston

            For me, the media is the one that has created the beast. They claim to be champions of truth, but when handed the truth on a silver platter, they want nothing to do with it. I don’t know if it is laziness, or if they are so afraid of being on the bad side of Spitzer and Nelson. For me, it stinks of pure cowardice. I lost a career I loved, for doing the right thing, so their yellow belly whining doesn’t work for me.

          • Jacki Livingston

            I have also given them to The Register, LA Times and Channel 2 news.

        • James Weaver

          Wasn’t there a couple of communities, in southern California, that charges were brought against their civic leaders for mismanagement of funds? I bet that if the Orange County Register began an investigation into the nepotism and other alleged criminal acts of the beauracrcy of O.C., many would face charges…Oh, but I hear that O.C. media is equally at fault of ignoring the plight of citizens. Nothing is new to this system. It’s simply just being IGNORED, in the best interest of the powers that be. I almost wish that I had snuck into the U.S.illegally and had relatives in position to smooth out the paperwork and put me in a job.

          • OCservant_Leader

            Believe me – they think losers who play by the rules -are suckers.
            Yes, the OC GOP bosses control the OC Register (check out BOS Spitzer’s gun-toting story to see how he manipulated the Editors for an example).
            All we have is the VofOC!

    • Jacki Livingston

      Oh, let’s not forget the nepotism over at SSA, where the money will be flowing like water with this. There are the Edmunsons, father, mother, son and their darling Prince of Evil ‘nephew’, all of whom are up on the top. Add in the PoE’s wife, who is a trainer, his ex, still a lowly ET, his various aunts, cousins and lemmings, all of whom lie and protect him? Millions per year. They also have a family of eight sisters, over there, all of whom are in upper management. Now, I didn’t know all of them, but there was one that was dumber than a box of rocks! You have to ask yourself where, in private sector, would you see EIGHT SISTERS, all in upper management, if not for nepotism. The Prince had his aunt as his secretary, who covered up for his ‘long lunches’ in his office with attractive female subordinates. He was, of course, the same manager who got caught in the parking lot on the receiving end of a naughty act with a female subordinate who later became his wife, who leapfrogged from 42 grand a year to over a hundred grand. I can see on the SSA organizational chart that the lily livered snake assistant toady who ordered me to investigate the fraud, and then denied it, just landed himself a sweeeeeet promotion to a top post. But don’t worry, Bri-bri, I still have your file you gave me, and all the documents and emails. In fact, in one of the false drama accusations made against me, they tried to assert that 10 senior managers were cleaning the building refrigerators when I was allegedly rude to them. AS IF! These do nothings wouldn’t know how to clean the peon fridges if their lives depended on it. The chart shows fifteen managers who have lied, under oath or on administrative documents, trying to get me fired, and all got sweetheart deals. These people are scum who look out for each other and take the blood money that goes with it.

      • OCservant_Leader

        Thanks for sharing. We need to expose these “gangs” that have thrived in each Agency in this corrupted government. No need for offspring of operatives to get degrees or experience.
        The OC is not just corrupted at the top. There are many gangs of real “family” members operating as you have pointed out.
        There’s no HR or merit system in the County to slow down the appointments. I was involved in a recruitment at SSA…OMG there is no order of any kind there as the different crews are competing for power.
        I will share the ugly details of that circus at a later date. The crazy paperwork maze alone will astound you. The public deserves to know what is really going on.

        • Jacki Livingston

          Let me tell you the story of a lady named Gerilyn, who has been bounced all over the county, from HR to an exalted position with a “revolutionary” elder abuse task force that was supposed to be the first of its kind. This rear kissing artist has gone here and there, knifing people in the back an being the hatchet woman from the evil doers high up, and then when she thinks they will reward her for her vicious ways, they shift her around because they realize just how lousy she is. Yeah, and there are dozens like her.