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Huntington Beach calls a special council meeting for homeless shelter vote

Huntington Beach calls a special council meeting for homeless shelter vote
The city of Huntington Beach is considering buying an 11,200-square-foot-building at 15311 Pipeline Lane to create a 75- to 90-bed homeless shelter. (Bing Maps / Daily Pilot)

The Huntington Beach City Council will meet in special session Thursday to consider purchasing a warehouse building and turning it into a homeless shelter.

The 11,200-square-foot structure at 15311 Pipeline Lane is located in a light industrial area near Springdale Street and McFadden Avenue — about two blocks from Marina High School.

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The property, which previously housed small businesses, is listed at $2.6 million.

Council members had planned to vote on the acquisition at Monday’s regularly scheduled council meeting, but City Manager Fred Wilson said that his staff needed more time to finalize the plans for a 75- to 90-bed homeless shelter.

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Approving the shelter site would move the city closer to being able to once again enforce its anti-camping laws. A 2017 ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found it unconstitutional to prosecute homeless people for sleeping on public property when they don’t have an alternative.

A Huntington Beach-based shelter may also prevent legal action against the city.

City Atty. Michael Gates said there is chatter indicating cities and private plaintiffs are looking to sue Huntington Beach to compel it to provide shelter — a strategy used by homeless advocates in other parts of the county.

With council approval, the Huntington Beach shelter would serve prescreened men, women and couples for up to 90 days, though stays could be extended if tenants are awaiting approval for more-permanent housing. Registered sex offenders and people with outstanding felony arrest warrants would be prohibited.

Shelter residents would be driven to and from the fenced site to help reduce loitering, and entry and exit times would be limited, according to a city staff report. Around-the-clock security is planned, and clients would receive healthcare, counseling and job training.

This is the city’s second attempt to find a suitable location for a shelter after facing a backlash from Marina High parents and school officials who didn’t want the city to lease a nearby half-acre property at 5770 Research Drive.

Thursday’s special meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at City Hall, 2000 Main St.

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