In Change of Plans, County May Phase-In The Behind-Schedule Kraemer Homeless Shelter

In November 2015, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved plans for a $10 million dollar, 200-bed, 24-7 homeless shelter near the intersection of Kraemer Boulevard and La Palma Avenue in Anaheim – over the objections of nearby residents and businesses.

Residents and businesses were promised by the county the shelter would not negatively impact their neighborhoods and businesses, and would be so tightly run they would “never know it is there.”

The Kraemer Shelter was originally slated to open this year. In September, the county stated it would open in late 2017.

Those plans are changing yet again, according to an item on tomorrow’s Board of Supervisors agenda. The supervisors will be presented two options:

A) “Full Completion”: opening the shelter as one project “including all amenities and multi-service center without phasing construction” – as was previously promised to the public. Under this option, the shelter would open in mid-2018, nearly three years after its approval by the Board of Supervisors.

B) Two Phase Completion: open a “reduced scope shelter and service capacity” in Phase 1.  Phase 2 – the multi-service center, full kitchen and elevator to mezzanine – would be delayed until late 2018.

The staff report is vague on the meaning of “reduced scope shelter and service capacity” but since it excludes a multi-service center – the heart of the county’s original pitch for the shelter – it sounds like a variation on the county’s existing armory shelters or the converted bus depot in the Civic Center.

Sources tell OC Daily the county is planning to install portable showers and buildings on the 1000 Kraemer Place property and open up 100 beds to the homeless. Whether the Phase 1 shelter operations will adhere to the operations plan – homeless families only,  drug screening, a prohibition on residents with criminal records and on walk-ins — is unclear.

Much of the opposition from nearby residents and businesses was based on a lack of trust in the ability of the county to keep the promises it was making regarding the shelter. The county’s inability to adhere to its promised construction timetable and mode of operation will further undermine already low community confidence in its ability to avoid negatively impacting nearby businesses and homes.

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