Construction was completed this week on the first of five Orange County shelters to be renovated or built as part of HomeAid, the Building Industry Assn. of Orange County's nonprofit program to assist the homeless.
The project is part of Homeless Awareness Week, designated by the Orange County Board of Supervisors for Nov. 4-10.
Mike Lennon, Building Industry Assn. director of community affairs, said the $65,000 renovation of the decade-old, 36-bed Interval House in Midway City was done primarily by Kaufman & Broad Home Corp.of Anaheim.
"They did the shelter's whole wish list and then more," he said of the building company. "This stuff is just contagious. It's beginning to create a groundswell of understanding of the homeless situation." HomeAid concentrates assistance efforts on the "transitionally homeless," defined as people who are hard-working, often middle-class members of society who, as victims of circumstance such as job loss or catastrophic illness, have found themselves without homes, spokesman Bob Albertson said.
"Many of these are families," said Albertson, who is also president of Presley of Southern California, a home-building firm. "We need to take as many people off the streets as we can."
The building association, a 1,100-member organization representing builders, developers and affiliated businesses, chose one shelter in each county supervisorial district for renovation or new construction.
More than 300 subcontractors, builders and consultants have donated time, labor and materials to the ongoing program, which started in June and will be completed next year, Albertson said.
Albertson estimates that 8,000 to 10,000 people in Orange County are without shelter each night. Half of them are children.
Other shelters to be renovated, most of which provide free housing for 60 to 90 days, are the two-apartment, five-bedroom Thomas House in Garden Grove, the 20-bed New Vista Shelter in Fullerton and the almost-completed Anchor House in San Clemente.
In El Modena, the proposed $200,000 El Modena House, to include three one-story, low-rent duplexes, will be completed next spring, Albertson said.
According to the Orange County Homeless Issues Task Force, all 18 shelters in Orange County are full and turn people away.
Scott Mather, task force chairman, said the building association will add 80 beds to the existing inventory of 600.
"It's a breakthrough," Mather said. "Normally we only get 100 beds a year through all other sources. To increase capacity by this many from the (building) trades alone is a major step in the right direction."