The City of Placentia, along with the North Orange County Cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Orange, Villa Park, Stanton, and Yorba Linda, known as the North SPA Cities, have partnered together in a first-of-its-kind collaboration to end homelessness in the area.
The collaboration of the North SPA Cities is in response to Orange County Catholic Worker et al. action, filed against the County of Orange and North SPA Cities alleging violation of Plaintiffs’ first amendment rights by enforcing various trespass, loitering, and/or anti-camping ordinances or laws against them at times when, according to Plaintiffs, there were no immediately accessible and appropriate beds available to them in the County.
The Settlement Agreement, led by City Administrator Damien R. Arrula and Federal Judge David O. Carter, ensures the City of Placentia and North SPA Cities avoid costly litigation and denies admitting any wrongdoing, liability, or legal violations, without conceding the validity of any of Plaintiffs’ legal theories or claims, and preemptively, economically, and efficiently resolves the Action.
The North SPA Cities settlement agreement and corresponding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), create full-service facilities known as Navigation Centers for the region’s homeless. Two Navigation Centers with up to a 250 bed collective capacity will be created, one in Placentia and one in Buena Park, and all North SPA cities, with the exception of Los Alamitos, will financially contribute to the start-up and ongoing funding obligations for operation and management. The proposed Navigation Centers will work not only to house the North SPA Cities homeless population, but also provide health resources, job and social skills, and opportunities to reunite with friends and family, with the goal of integrating North Orange County’s homeless to become productive members of society while decreasing the number of homeless in public areas.
The City of Placentia will host a 100 bed, state-of-the-art Navigation Center at 731 S. Melrose Street. The City is already in the process of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a site operator/service provider and is retaining a design build firm for design services to complete tenant improvements to the property.
“This is a groundbreaking, first of its kind regional collaboration to end homelessness,” said Mayor Rhonda Shader. “Placentia is grateful for Judge Carter’s dedication to solving homelessness and allowing cities like Placentia to be creative in addressing the needs of our homeless community.”
“As current Chair of the Community Advisory Board of the Bridges at Kraemer, the facility our Navigation Center is modeled after, I know the wrap-around service model of the Navigation Center works for many individuals that are in need and seeking services,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ward Smith. “Providing a safe environment with services all in one location helps individuals back on the path to ending their homeless situation as soon as possible.”
The City of Placentia ensured there would be no General Fund fiscal impact associated with entering into the settlement agreement. Any ongoing expenses are covered in the funding commitment made in the North SPA MOU and the purchase of 731 S. Melrose was made in-full with grant funding provided by the Orange County Continuum of Care as part of the State of California’s Homeless Emergency Aid Program (“HEAP”).
If the City of Placentia had not entered into the settlement agreement, the City would not legally be able to keep the homeless from creating an encampment in public areas, such as city halls, senior centers, parks and neighborhood sidewalks, including sidewalks in front of residents’ homes. Cities’ ability to address homelessness has been significantly diminished based upon the Martin v. Boise ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on September 2, 2018. Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that anti-camping ordinances violated the Eighth Amendment when enforced against those who have been forced to sleep outdoors because they cannot obtain shelter.
“Working with thirteen cities to agree on a solution has been a monumental effort and accomplishment by our City Councils and City Managers,” said City Administrator Damien R. Arrula. “The City of Placentia is proud to have found a fiscally responsible and regional solution that also addresses the needs of our community. We are excited to open the Navigation Center at the end of this year to house our homeless population and return our public spaces back to the community, while providing a high-quality model to assist the homeless population.”
For more information and continual updates, please visit www.placentia.org/homelessness.
This article was released by the City of Placentia.