Irvine to Act on Offer of Housing for Homeless

Times Staff Writer

The Irvine City Council will consider at its May 10 meeting the Irvine Co.'s offer of two dilapidated farmhouses to help house the homeless.

The council, with Councilman Edward A. Dornan absent, agreed Tuesday to vote on the offer and on whether to spend up to $10,000 to repair the vacant buildings.

The Irvine Co. has offered to donate up to five unused farmhouses to the city at no cost, but just two of the buildings appear suitable for renovation, city officials said. The farmhouses are in the 6400 block of Burt Road.

Construction workers have also volunteered labor to help refurbish the houses.

However, some residents have raised questions about the structural safety of the buildings and the estimated cost of rehabilitation.

Mark Roy, who addressed the council Tuesday night, said $10,000 "would not begin to touch the material costs" of upgrading the buildings.

The city became interested in the buildings after its proposal to convert a vacant dog kennel into a 50-bed shelter for homeless families was rejected by the federal government in December.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development canceled a $496,000 grant the city needed for the conversion project, citing concern over noise and potential danger from aircraft accidents at nearby El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

However, the government agency decided in January to let the city use $339,000 of the grant to expand its existing program to house the homeless in various apartments in the city.

The city has since been seeking more options.

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