Costa Mesa officials celebrate completion of $11.5-million homeless shelter

Men and women wearing face masks gather behind a long ribbon as a woman cuts it.
Costa Mesa officials celebrate the opening of a new homeless shelter on Airway Avenue in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.
(City of Costa Mesa)

Costa Mesa officials celebrated a civic accomplishment this week, cutting the ribbon on a new bridge shelter that will play a role in helping homeless individuals transition to more stable housing options.

The 72-bed shelter at 3175 Airway Ave. was built inside a warehouse purchased by the city in March 2019 and retrofitted into a 12,285-square-foot space with an intake area, offices, fully equipped commercial kitchen, and living quarters for men and women.

A 14,000-square-foot space remaining in the warehouse is rentable tenant space.

Mayor Katrina Foley joined Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Marr and Council Members Loren Gameros, Arlis Reynolds and Jeff Harlan at Tuesday’s ceremony, which included a tour of the facility and was hosted by City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison.


In an agreement with Costa Mesa, the city of Newport Beach provided a one-time payment of $1.4 million in capital costs along with $200,000 for furnishings and equipment for the site. Newport Beach will pay $1 million annually for use of 20 set-aside beds at the shelter.

Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery and City Manager Grace Leung attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony with a small contingent of city officials.

“It was really something to see it all come together,” Avery said at Tuesday night’s Newport Beach City Council meeting, calling the project “the beginning of the beginning” of addressing the regional impact of homelessness. “I really felt like we have turned the corner on this with the opening of the Costa Mesa bridge shelter.”

The first live-in clients will begin to transition from Costa Mesa’s temporary shelter at Lighthouse Church of the Nazarene on the city’s west side in early April, and new clients could begin arriving sometime in May.

The bridge shelter is anticipated to achieve full operational capacity sometime in July. The total cost of the building project, retrofitting and interior design is estimated at $11.5 million.

Cardine writes for Times Community News.