City officials have decided to provide temporary housing to a group of homeless people who were among those evicted last month from an encampment among thick bushes at a Beach Boulevard exit from the San Diego Freeway.
The Redevelopment Agency decided this weekto spend some $10,000 to rent a three-bedroom house and a two-bedroom apartment that will be available to the homeless people--nine men and one woman--by next month. The money will come from the city’s fund for affordable housing.
“We’ll try to help as long as they want to help themselves,” Mayor Charles V. Smith said. “If they can turn their lives around, that will be a good investment.”
The program will run for three months and be limited to the 10 from the encampment.
“We’re concerned that this will become a precedent,” Smith said. “But this will be only for a short time.”
The Westminster-based Shelter for the Homeless will donate an additional $4,300 and will manage the program, said Jim Miller, the nonprofit group’s executive director.
“It’s a wonderful decision,” Miller said. “Other cities would have simply asked the homeless people to go elsewhere.”
The group will also receive food, furniture, utilities and help in finding jobs. The men will move into the three-bedroom house and the woman into the apartment, possibly as soon as May 4, Miller said.
A case manager will live at the house and anyone using drugs or alcohol will be evicted.
Shelter for the Homeless staff members will interview the homeless people Monday, Miller said, to see who needs immediate medical help. Shelter officials hope that after three months, the transients can find jobs and move into transitional housing Shelter for the Homeless operates in the county. About 100 people live in these shelters, Miller said. In Westminster, 32 people, including five families, are housed in shelters set up last year with the help of the Redevelopment Agency, he said.
The camp was shut down after the state Department of Transportation won a court order last month and razed the group’s elaborate encampment, which included a kitchen, closets, dressers and couches. Some had lived there for more than three years.
After their eviction, about a dozen people moved to an abandoned fire station on Golden West Street near Westminster High School.
Chuck Ross, 32, a local businessman who leases the building from its owner, had invited them to live there. But after neighbors complained, city officials inspected the building, declared it uninhabitable and ordered the group to leave. City officials soon decided, however, to provide them with temporary housing after talks with Miller and Shelter for the Homeless officials.