Costa Mesa officials are looking into alternative sites for a long-term local homeless shelter after learning that a sought-after location is off limits.
The City Council directed staff last week to explore the possibility of placing such a facility at 3115 Red Hill Ave., near John Wayne Airport. However, “after further investigating the property, the city has learned that it is no longer an option,” city spokesman Tony Dodero said Thursday.
“We are actively pursuing other properties in the airport area,” he added.
The Red Hill property is near Mariners Christian School in a heavily commercial and industrial area. It’s currently used by the Orange County Health Care Agency to provide behavioral health services.
“The county has informed us that they need that space and they have a lease there … so it’s not an option for us,” Mayor Katrina Foley said Thursday.
Foley added that she traveled to Sacramento on Wednesday to meet with Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) and representatives of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office “to discuss our solutions for homelessness and potential sites, as well as funding sources.”
Though City Council members had singled out the Red Hill property as an option worth exploring, they also told staff last week to continue looking into alternatives. Foley said the city is “working diligently” with a real estate consultant to identify possible sites.
“We’ve cast a wide net for any suitable site in the city, but I think we shared at the meeting and I remain confident that the airport area is likely the most suitable area for our needs,” Foley said. “[It is] the least impactful, most suitable and provides an opportunity for buildings that are of the right size and can accommodate some of the parameters and criteria that we set forward.”
Meanwhile, city officials are negotiating with Lighthouse Church of the Nazarene to develop a temporary 50-bed facility on its Westside property.
Under that council-approved plan, city staff will work with the church at 1885 Anaheim Ave. to improve and expand its inclement-weather shelter and homeless check-in center to function as a “bridge shelter,” with the goal of opening that facility in April.
City officials will further discuss those plans during a community open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Costa Mesa Senior Center, 695 W. 19th St. For more information, visit costamesaca.gov/homeless.