As coronavirus spreads, Orange County to use former juvenile center as homeless shelter

 Joplin Youth Center in Trabuco Canyon
The Joplin Youth Center in Trabuco Canyon will be used as a shelter for older homeless individuals who are not exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A former juvenile correctional facility in Orange County will be used as a shelter for older individuals who are homeless but not showing signs of coronavirus infection, officials said.

The temporary shelter at Joplin Youth Center — which the Orange County Probation Department operated in Trabuco Canyon until May — will be open for “sheltered homeless persons who are older but not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19,” county officials said in a statement Sunday.

“The county is working with shelter providers to identify individuals who fit this category and to maximize the space at Joplin while maintaining safe social distance.”


Officials also are moving to identify and secure other alternative shelters.

The coronavirus outbreak has infected 125 people in Orange County and more than 1,800 statewide. Health officials say the virus presents particular risks to seniors and those with chronic health conditions — which can be prevalent among those who are homeless.

Orange County also has announced the relocation of its cold-weather emergency shelters — typically located at the National Guard armories in Fullerton and Santa Ana — after Gov. Gavin Newsom mobilized the National Guard to help distribute food and supplies across the state.

Those facilities will be moved to the Independence Park gymnasium, 801 W. Valencia Drive in Fullerton, and the Salvation Army at 2603 W. First St. in Santa Ana.

Clients at those shelters will receive medical and housing services “and will be entered into the county’s coordinated entry system for future housing opportunities and continued” support, officials said.

Both shelters are scheduled to close April 15, but the county is in talks to potentially extend that date, officials said.