The ground breaking ceremony Wednesday for construction of the Buena Park Homeless Navigation Center brought together a partnership of officials from cities, nonprofits, the County of Orange and the State of California. Attendees gathered in the late afternoon at the site bringing with them clothing and hygiene product donations.
The Buena Park Homeless Navigation Center, a product of the collaboration between the North Orange County Service Planning Area (North SPA) cities, will serve community members experiencing homelessness. The facility, being built with repurposed shipping containers, will provide 150 beds, housing and supportive case management, medical services, and a variety of resources.
“The Navigation Center will provide a safe place for homeless neighbors to seek shelter, be connected to services they need to move into permanent supportive housing, and become successful,” Buena Park Mayor Arthur Brown said. “The commitment of our fellow cities to step up and address this regional crisis has demonstrated not only courage and leadership, but compassion towards our homeless neighbors.”
The Center was first conceived in 2018 when the North SPA, comprised of the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Orange, Placentia, Villa Park, Stanton and Yorba Linda began working together to find suitable locations for multiple shelters.
“I commend the city managers in the 4th District for addressing homelessness and appreciate the City of Buena Park for taking the lead on solidifying a location for the navigation center within the North SPA,” said Orange County 4th District Supervisor Doug Chaffee. “I give thanks to the cities for coming together on this momentous occasion.”
On November 7, 2018, the North SPA was awarded upwards of $12 million in Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funding from the State of California via the Orange County Continuum of Care Board. The Buena Park Navigation Center will be funded with $6.4 million in HEAP funding as well as additional funding from participating North SPA cities. Operational costs will be funded by Senate Bill 2. The City of Placentia was awarded $5.65 million in HEAP funds for a similar shelter.
Once completed, Mercy House will operate the 15,360 sq. ft. center. Larry Haynes, Executive Director of Mercy House, spoke directly to those the facility would serve. “We see this as a beacon of hope,” said Haynes. “We cannot wait to serve you.”
Orange County 2nd District Supervisor Michelle Steel added, “The ground breaking of the Buena Park Navigation Center is an important step forward. It is a comprehensive regional solution that will provide transitional housing for those living on the street and offers a stable setting for healthcare and other services with the goal of permanently transitioning clients off the streets.”
Construction will begin immediately and is scheduled to be completed early 2020.
This article was released by the City of Buena Park.