Sidhu Seeks Approval of 200-Bed Emergency Shelter To Be Completed By Christmas

Less than 24 hours after being sworn in as mayor of Anaheim, Harry Sidhu has a plan for a temporary, emergency 200-bed homeless shelter for city council consideration tomorrow afternoon at an emergency meeting he called yesterday. If approved, the proposed shelter at 2040 S. State College Blvd – at the intersection of State College and Orangewood – would be open before Christmas. It would provide shelter from the elements for homeless individuals encamped in the city’s parks and public spaces as cold and rainy winter weather approaches. When completed, according to informed sources, Anaheim would be considered in compliance with the settlement agreement and could begin enforcing its anti-vagrancy laws.

“These individuals, these human beings, are camping in our parks and public spaces,” said Sidhu at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. “This is not good for them,  it is not good for the neighborhoods.”

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu

“We need a way to fast track the creation of temporary shelter to provide a place for these people to stay now while the work is being done to open up two permanent shelters in Anaheim,” state Sidhu.

The following afternoon, Sidhu had a concrete plan to open such a shelter by Christmas agendized for council consideration

The shelter would be a public-private partnership between the City of Anaheim and Visit Anaheim Cares – the charitable arm of the organisation representing Anaheim’s convention and tourism industry. It would bridge the gap until two planned, city-owned homeless shelters — the Center of Hope and the Piano Store shelter – open in late February or early March.  The Center for Hope will be located at 1340 S. Lewis Street and will eventually have 400 beds by its Phase 2 build-out in 2020. The Piano Store site at 3035 E. La Mesa Street is across the street from the County’s Bridges at Kraemer shelter, and will have up to 125 beds.

According to a city-issued news release, the proposed emergency temporary shelter at 2040 S. State College will be similar to the Kraemer at Bridges shelter: homeless clients will be admitted on a referral basis only, and transported to and from the shelter. No walk-ins. The city also stated the shelter will include “extensive operational and security planning to ensure it is a good neighbor. The Anaheim Police will oversee security planning and conduct regular patrols of the site, supplemented by onsite security and rules barring loitering, walk-ups and drop-offs.”

Visit Anaheim Cares would facilitate leasing 15,000 square feet of an industrial building at the corner State College and Orangewood, and the shelter would be operated by the Illumination Foundation – which earlier this week was selected by the city to run the planned 125-bed temporary shelter at the Piano Store.

Maxwell Park

The City of Anaheim will fund up to $600,000 for the temporary emergency shelter, which will operate for 60-90 days at the State College location.  Private businesses will also contribute substantial funding.

When completed, the Center for Hope – which will be operated by the Salvation Army — and the Piano Store shelter will provide a total of 325 homeless shelter beds. That will bring the city into compliance with the settlement agreement overseen by federal Judge David O. Carter.

13 comments

  1. What time is this being presented to our City Council on Thursday December 6? Is this separate from the emergency Council Meeting set for Thursday evening? I want to attend both.

    • David Michael Klawe

      This is the Special Meeting of the City Council. (One and the same)

      Public Meeting starts at 4 PM (Closed session will be held at 3:30 PM).

      Like a regular meeting, public comments will start before the single item is discussed and voted on by the Council. My guess, 2 to 3 hours long.

      You can also watch live at Anaheim.net or on the Spectrum Government Channel 3.

  2. David Michael Klawe

    So here is what happen tonight.

    Behind the Scenes Bill Taromina joined with Todd Ament to get the Interim Project Done.

    So they brought in Visit Anaheim, the Marketing Arm for the Resort District to draw tourists and businesses to the city, including the Convention Center.

    LT Global, who just recently bought a piece of land next to Angel Stadium to build the LT PLatinum Center.

    On that land, which is still waiting for the new project to be built, sat a vacant Warehouse, and was willing to donate its use for the next few months.

    Visit Anaheim, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce so far has raised over $300,000 from folks like the Ducks, Angels and the Disneyland Resort, which are designed to offset the $600,000 cost to bring the building up to the standards to be used at the shelter. The goal is to raise the $600,000 so there is no city funds for the Shelter itself.

    Also, the Building Trades have offered to some members donate labor for some extras to improve living conditions at the shelter.

    The Illuminations Foundation will be paid by the city up to $805,000, on a per Diem basis to operate the shelter. Some of the furnishings and equipment will be transferred to the Piano Store when that facility is ready to open.

    As to how this will affect Maxwell Park and other areas. Once the beds are available, then the police can enforce the anti-Camping/Loitering laws, after offering a bed to the person. So we have the basic three choices, 1) Take the offer of the bed. 2) Take the right of Freedom option, and leave the park, and then in actuality the city or 3) Get cited/arrested for refusal of the offer of the bed, and refusing to leave.

    And so long as a bed remains open (and suitable for the specific person), then the laws can be enforced. If the Shelter fills up, then until more beds come online, the laws are once again suspended.

    Councilmember Barnes was absent due to Medical reasons, but a letter written by her was read, in which she stated support for the new shelter.

    Dr. Moreno asked a lot of questions, and once Bill Taromina answered them all, plus pledge to indemnify the city if the shelter didn’t open, or was sued due to zoning laws, he agreed to support the project.

    Councilmember Faessel spoke about how EVERY Shelter has ended up in District 5, and said there was no way, no matter how much good it would do, could he vote for one more shelter in his district, and that is understandable.

    Final Vote was 5 Yeas, 1 Nay, and 1 absent.

    So now the work comments, and the goal is 10 calendar days before it opens.

    So a VERY positive step, and Mayor Sidhu did specifically that Councilmember Brandman for his help in making the shelter happen.

    So a LOT of folks to thank, from the Private Citizens and businesses in making the shelter happen, to all the City Staff including Rudy Emami, who agreed to the point person in charge of the project for the city.

    As Mayor Sidhu called it, A Christmas Gift to all, from the Homeless, so they can get out of the cold and into the shelter, which will provide Showers, beds, meals, and other services including medical, to the citizens who will get their parks and sidewalks back for their attended purposes.

    And Lisa and I would like to start the thanks to all mentioned above, and truly wish that all the homeless take the city up on the offer of a bed and shelter.

  3. David – thank you so much for this recap of last night’s meeting. Yes, the tax-paying residents of Anaheim want their parks and neighborhoods back (understandably), so this is a step in the right direction. I”m so glad the new mayor is addressing this homeless issue right now. I do know Bill Taromina had been trying to get the previous mayor and city council members on board with this – so glad the new mayor is embracing Bill’s ideas. A Christmas gift to everyone, for sure!

  4. It was such a great meeting, thanks David for recapping it so perfectly.
    I completely understand District 5 and Steves reasoning.. Hopefully district 1 can now begin the clean up and rebuilding of the parks reputation. And the homeless have a clean, dry, free, comfortable place to be.
    I was so proud I spoke, and so happy it passed.

    Thank you Mayor Sidhu for doing this!!

  5. David Michael Klawe

    Jodie, thank for speaking. I was ready to do so, but as all the speakers were being fair and not misstating things, I felt the speed of the meeting was more important. Had to laugh that Luciele Kring was about to stop and say Hi on her way out, and we told her to get to her other event and we would talk later. She was also so excited that the Interim Shelter happened.

    But don’t forget District 2, Heck, I live closer in District 2 that is closer to Maxwell Park than most of District 1. My wife Lisa and I actually went for a walk after dinner Wednesday night in the rain to and around Maxwell Park. The sidewalks on Broadway near Maxwell Park was full of tents and the Homeless as usual. I truly hope that on Christmas Night, the sidewalks are clear, and the folks currently using the tents are warm and dry in Shelter Beds.

    To Katie, How right you are. After the meeting I heard a group of Homeless Advocates talking and asking why couldn’t this get done 2 years ago, well, I wish I said, why don’t you ask Mayor Tait why he ran such a toxic environment at City Hall that Bill Taormina couldn’t do it. And trust me, He did try multiple times, which is a shame.

    Mayor Sidhu’s theme is the American Dream, well I hope the council’s theme is Civility and Compromise. As Mr. Faesell brought up, we have The Anaheim Way back, and we as citizens need to hold all 7 members accountable, and if we do, the very hard working City Staff will get things done.

    Due to politics, we know have a serious (but still better than many cities) deficit due to the loss of three planned 4 Star Hotels, plus this emergency spending in regards to the Homeless crisis, that needs to be addressed. It is great that the private sector is stepping up to the plate currently, but we need to make sure that also continues. We need to find Win-Win’s to make that happen, and not demonize businesses.

    I also will be pushing for what Kris Murray pushed for to expand the Sunshine Ordinance to cover Unions, Non-Profits and anyone seeking something from the city to create a level playing field. Other large cities in California do it, but somehow the original version was written one-sided.

    As for the Unions and other groups who spent large sums of money on the local election, I personally challenge you to also provide funds and in-kind services to help out with the current Homeless crisis. Work with the City Staff and council to get things done NOW and better than other cities. We do need to push other cities to do more, but one of the best ways is to lead. Much of the Interim shelter followed the path Santa Ana took, so just like we are seeing these public-private partnerships, we need to partner with other cities to prevent the current situation of the Homeless going to the cities with lax enforcement. If the Homeless are treated the same, then they won’t migrate to places like Maxwell Park.

    The next two nights we have Christmas Tree lightings, first at Twila Reed tonight, followed by the Anaheim Ice in Ctr City tomorrow night. Here is hoping that the true meaning of Christmas, as Linus from the Peanuts Gang so well describes, finds its way to both events.

    Need to go donate Pasta for Catarina’s Club at the Christ Cathedral, if you have a chance, folks will be there until 10 PM tonight taking Pasta, Sauce, and of course Cash to feed “Motel Kids” throughout the region. A great charity with no overhead thanks to one of Anaheim’s amazing citizens, Chef Bruno Serato.

  6. David Michael Klawe

    At Christ Cathedral TOTALLY PISSED due to the fact the OC Register article makes no mention of the Business community involvement.

  7. Vern went into overdrive as Official Apologist of the Tait Regime, trying to spin away Sidhu’s accomplishment. Just goes to show Vern and those clowns care most about who gets things done, not what gets done.

    • Only to the degree that Team Klepto is using this to “prove” that Sidhu could do things Tait couldn’t. This was actually mostly the doing of Taormina, not Sidhu.

      It’s good this is happening in any case.

      • David Michael Klawe

        But Bill Taormina tried to get something done for years, and tried to get Mayor Tait to help out in dealing with the Red Tape. And we know that he never did. So that falls on Tom Tait.

        Mayor Sidhu did step up to the plate, and has helped get it done.

        But yes, the main thanks needs to go to Bill Taormina, Todd Ament, Visit Anaheim, and businesses like LT Global, the Angles, the Ducks and the Disneyland Resort. Plus the Building Trade Unions, who are arranging members to help out on the project at no charge (done for charity). Yes, many of the workers are getting paid, but any free labor helps out in keeping the city from spending money.

        We should also thank the Disneyland Resort for it’s $600,000 donation to Chrysalis, plus the promise of donations of time and things like used business attire clothing, to help Anaheim residents get jobs, including the homeless. And this was done during the last two years and the former council in charge.

        So a lot of people/groups to thank.

        It is time to go back to “The Anaheim Way” and doing business in a civil way, with folks willing to compromise, so things can get done quickly to make Anaheim a better place to live, eat, shop and visit!

      • David Michael Klawe

        Forgot to mention Republic Services, which Bill Taormina is the owner of.

        Also for indemnifying the city against a zoning lawsuit, and guaranteeing that if, for some reason, the shelter fails to open, the city will get all $600,000 it gave to Visit Anaheim. The plan is for Visit Anaheim to return all $600,000 anyways, after another $300,000 is raised from the business community, along with some key citizens.

      • Vern: Then why didn’t Tait get it done?

      • Vern, your desperation to deny credit to Harry Sidhu is sad.

        Mayor Sidhu repeatedly praised the actions of your beloved “People’s Council” re the Salvation Army and Piano Store efforts. He wasn’t afraid to give credit where credit is due.

        Bill Taormina has played a critical, indispensable role in getting this shelter going. But he will tell you it only happened because of Sidhu’s leadership.

        Tait could never have brought in this kind of private sector support because he needlessly alienated leading corporate citizens like Disney and the Angels. Sidhu could. That should be appreciated, not criticized.

        Vern, you would be taken more seriously by more people if you stuck to the facts, instead of embellishing your writings with rumors, untruths and personal animus.

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