OC Officials Break Ground on New Homeless Shelter in Huntington Beach

August 30, 2020 Updated: August 30, 2020

Orange County officials gathered in Huntington Beach, California, on Aug. 27 to break ground on the city’s new 174-bed homeless shelter.

The new shelter, dubbed the Navigation Center, will help alleviate the city’s homelessness crisis by giving transients a place to stay and receive services while transitioning to housing security. By providing beds, the shelter will also allow the city to enforce anti-camping ordinances in city parks.

The center will include large tents called “sprung” structures for housing, trailers for administration offices, a dining room, laundry facilities, restrooms, showers, and a common area.

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel, who attended the ceremony, told The Epoch Times the Navigation Center will provide “holistic aid” to the homeless.

“[The Center] is about addressing the needs of the whole person, from shelter to mental health to physical health,” Steel said.

Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta told The Epoch Times that the shelter will provide assistance to a vulnerable population battling the spread of COVID-19.

“It provides a safe and sanitary space for the homeless to isolate from the virus. It also provides a shelter for residents who are facing housing insecurities during these difficult economic times,” Semeta said.

The center will be managed by Mercy House, an experienced shelter operator, and will provide “vocational training, mental health treatment, and transportation to necessary appointments” for the needy, Semeta said.

The new complex is designed to provide housing for more than 60 percent of the city’s estimated homeless population, allowing Huntington Beach police to enforce anti-encampment ordinances.

The availability of beds would make it illegal for transients to camp in public parks by providing another option. In 2018, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that homeless people could not be punished for sleeping outside on public property if they had no alternative.

The site is located on Cameron Lane near Beach Boulevard. Construction of the center is expected to be complete in November.