Two locations for South Orange County homeless identified
The April 19 meeting of the mayors was in response to a directive from U.S. District Court Judge David Carter to find a suitable location in South County to shelter a number of the county’s homeless population. The two locations discussed were properties that were proposed to the mayors for consideration by a committee of city managers from South County.
Mayor Wagner reported that the mayoral team preferred the former Silverado Elementary School, a county-owned property that now serves as the Library of the Canyons in Silverado, as the site for a homeless shelter. The location is near the hills east of Irvine and not near any housing developments. It is, however, right next door to a preschool.
The second site proposed is the Los Pinos Conversation Camp. The property is in the Cleveland National Forest and adjacent to the border between Orange and Riverside counties. The facility was previously used as a juvenile detention camp. Because the land is federally owned and not county-owned property, the mayors agreed it wasn’t an ideal option.
Lake Forest Mayor Jim Gardner expressed concerns about the Santiago site, saying that a single location would mean hundreds of homeless would share the same facility. Gardner preferred a more localized approach, with the county funding existing shelters within cities.
The county will review the mayors’ recommendations and provide an update at a May 10 meeting.