Homelessness: Orange County Averts Early Closure of Armory Emergency Shelter Program

Orange County has averted the early closure of its emergency storm shelters this winter season. 

Federal cuts to the Emergency Food and Shelter Program would have resulted in homeless families in Orange County losing access to emergency shelters for more than seven weeks. 

On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved $375,000 in county funds to offset federal cuts to the Armory Emergency Shelter Program. The county's new funding will provide homeless families with a hot meal and a safe place to sleep for 51 days this winter season. In total, Orange County's emergency shelters will remain open for 130 days. 

"We want to make sure that every family in Orange County has a safe place to sleep this winter," said Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, who has led the county's comprehensive homeless response. "Orange County's actions will offset cuts to federal funds in order to keep our homeless community safe this winter." 

Last year, Orange County's Armory Emergency Shelter Program provided 37,066 bed nights over 138 days to more than 1,830 people. This year's program will run from December 5, 2016 to April 15, 2017. 

The low threshold emergency shelters administered at two seasonal National Guard Armories located in Fullerton and Santa Ana provide homeless families with a safe place to sleep, a hot meal and supportive services, including mental health services, job training and housing assistance. 

In September, Supervisor Andrew Do proposed a plan to turn an abandoned bus shelter in Santa Ana into a homeless shelter. On October 5, Orange County opened the Courtyard Transitional Homeless Shelter, a 300-bed homeless shelter that provides job training, mental health care, and permanent housing options.