November 15, 2019 Update
The Homeless Task Force met on November 13 and voted to recommend to the City Council to restructure the Task Force as an Ad Hoc Council Committee to allow for a more rapid response to issue related to homelessness. If the Resolution to restructure the Task Force is adopted by the City Council on November 19, the Ad Hoc Committee will still hold regular public meetings regarding the City's strategies for addressing homelessness. The Homeless Task Force thanks the seven residents for providing their expertise and insights to the City's process and as a continued resource to the Ad Hoc Committee.
October 25, 2019 Update
The City Council closed session report from October 22, 2019, directed staff to continue exploring the three options for providing shelter space in Newport Beach. Staff continues to negotiate with regional partners for shelter beds, explore purchasing and converting 4200 Campus Drive into a shelter, and consider retrofitting a space at the City’s Corporate Yard at 592 Superior Avenue.
Residents attended a Homelessness 101 presentation facilitated by staff from the Orange County United Way. The presentation covered the financial costs of providing services to unsheltered individuals versus the lower cost of services for sheltered individuals. The causes of homelessness as well as the challenges of overcoming homelessness focused on data from the Orange County Point in Time Count to illustrate the impact on the region. The presentation will be available via NBTV in the coming weeks. Homeless Liaison Officer Yim and City Net staff attended to provide outreach and answer residents’ questions.
October 18, 2019 Update
Staff continues to pursue multiple paths to obtain shelter beds for Newport Beach. Discussions are continuing with neighboring cities for regional partnerships and with the lease and property owners of 4200 Campus Drive. We have engaged firms to develop design plans for the City’s Corporation Yard and released a request for proposals for a shelter operator this week. We are actively engaged on all three pathways.
The Homeless Task Force met on October 15 and discussed and took action on several items. The Task Force approved the panhandling education signs as requested by the City Council and directed staff to proceed with the purchase and installation of the signs at key intersections in the City. The Housing Subcommittee will be engaging a broker to seek out property that may be appropriate for Permanent Supportive Housing. The Public Outreach Committee is working on enhancing the City’s website and social media presence along with attending community events to engage the public in the issue and offer services to those that may be in need. Finally, the Task Force will be reviewing its goals and objectives at its next meeting on November 12.
October 11, 2019 Update
The City Council and staff continue to work to address the issue of homelessness. The City Council at their meeting of October
8 directed staff to continue negotiations with the property located at 4200 Campus and the City of Costa Mesa.
October 4, 2019 Update
Last week, outside legal counsel filed an amici curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the California State Association of Counties and 33 California counties and cities in support of certiorari in City of Boise v. Martin. Newport Beach City Council voted to join this brief, which asks the US Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that has severely restricted the ability for counties and cities to enforce their anti-camping laws. Because of this decision, we are moving down multiple pathways to obtain shelter beds. The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear the case by 2020.
At the last City Council meeting, on September 24, City Council approved a resolution to implement a sign and messaging program to discourage panhandling. Staff will work with the Homeless Task Force to develop the messaging and post signage in locations where panhandling is occurring.
September 27, 2019 Update
At the City Council meeting on September 24, 2019, the City Council took a set of actions, which allows staff to move forward with conceptual work to develop a temporary shelter at the City’s Corporation Yard. At the same meeting, following the closed session, the City Attorney reported that discussions are continuing with Costa Mesa to partner for services. The City Council is currently pursuing three paths for a homeless shelter: 1) Negotiate with the owners of 4200 Campus Drive in the airport area; 2) Engage neighboring cities for a regional approach to a shelter; and 3) Provide a shelter located at 592 Superior Avenue, the site of the City’s Corporation Yard. Staff is preparing a Scope of Services document to present to potential shelter operators. Stipulations for shelter operators include 24/7/365 on-site security, a reservation-only referral model of access, and on-site case management for long-term housing placement.
The results of enforcing no trespassing during the hours the OCTA transportation center is closed has reduced the number of times the police were on site in the past week from 44 to 23 with one disturbance call and two arrests. The Newport Beach Police Department continues to monitor the area and the night trespassing has been almost completely eliminated. The Irvine Company is currently improving the landscaping in the area which will enhance the facility.
September 20, 2019 Update
On Wednesday night, the Newport Beach Police Department, Public Works staff, OCTA staff, and the Orange County Sheriff,
began no-trespassing enforcement at the Orange County Transportation Center located at 1550 Avocado Avenue, as
requested and authorized by OCTA. The team was successful in removing all of the tents located on the site. Areas of the center
have been cordoned off to prepare for new landscaping that will begin on Saturday. Our Police Department will be monitoring the
site to ensure that no additional trespassing occurs during the hours the Transportation Center is closed, which is between
11:15 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The Police Department also continues to enforce our laws at the Transportation Center. Police staff were on site 44 times during
the past week, made two arrests and wrote 2 citations. As directed by City Council, staff is continuing a multi-pronged
approach to obtaining shelter beds: collaborating with neighboring cities, lease negotiations with private property, and
siting a temporary homeless shelter on City property, specifically the City’s Corporation Yard at 592 Superior Avenue. To develop
plans and determine construction and operating costs at the Corporation Yard, staff is requesting approval of necessary
actions to continue moving forward at the next Council meeting on September 24. The City Council will also consider adding
signage to select medians to discourage residents and visitors from giving to those asking for money.
September 13, 2019 Update
The City is pursuing multiple paths for a temporary shelter including negotiating with neighboring cities, negotiating to lease private property in the City and use of a portion of the City Corporation Yard. On September 24, City Council will be asked to take the necessary actions to continue on a parallel path effort for the creation of a temporary emergency shelter for homeless individuals at the City’s Corporation Yard at 592 Superior Avenue. This has been noticed as a public hearing because of the zoning of the site. The actions will allow staff to complete due diligence on the site and develop the costs to set up and operate a shelter.
This week our Police Department, the Orange County Health Care Agency, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and our City Net partners have been actively engaging our homeless individuals with outreach to assist them from the street to temporary shelter and permanent housing. The efforts were centered around the OCTA Transportation Center facility, where our team interacted with 14 homeless individuals at the OCTA facility. As we work with these individuals, we will hopefully move them to shelters, however, this can be a longer-term process. This past week the Police made 29 stops, which include responding to calls for service and proactive patrol checks, and 2 arrests at the Transportation Center. Also this week, OCTA placed additional signage at the facility and our Police will now enforce trespassing laws, as requested and authorized by OCTA. We continue to place significant resources at this site.
September 6, 2019 Update
On September 4, 2019, the City Council held a special meeting to discuss homelessness and whether to initiate negotiations on potential private sites for a homeless shelter in the City. Due to the changing legal landscape, the City needs to have shelter beds available in order to enforce our anti-camping ordinance. To address this need, the City Council has tasked staff with evaluating public and private sites for a shelter facility and pursuing partnerships with neighboring cities. This meeting allowed the City Council to provide direction on three private properties and receive community input. The City Council voted unanimously, 7-0, to remove the site of the former Pine Knot Motel from consideration as a shelter facility due to its location in the Coastal Zone. The City Council also provided direction to initiate negotiations for the property at 4200 Campus Drive and to take no further action on 825 W. 16th Street unless directed to do so by the Council. Any future action on 825 W. 16th Street would require Council direction at a noticed public meeting. In addition, Council directed staff to evaluate the City-owned Municipal Yard on Superior Avenue for a homeless shelter for cost comparison purposes, and continue discussions with neighboring cities for regional partnerships. Moving forward on this Council direction is top priority for staff.
Throughout the evaluation process, the safety and security of residents, staff and visitors are paramount in driving the planning and implementation of a shelter facility. Any shelter facility under consideration would require a reservation-only intake process, 24/7 on-site security and a buffer zone of code enforcement responsibilities to ensure safe and orderly access. The reservation process involves partnering with law enforcement, clearing background checks and processing intake assessments with City Net. City Net is the City’s contracted social service provider.
In addition to evaluating shelter options, the City Council and staff continue to pursue a multifaceted approach to solve issues resulting from homelessness. City staff is working closely with OCTA and the Irvine Company to address the concerns at the OCTA Transportation Center. This week, OCTA provided authorization for the Newport Beach Police Department to enforce trespassing violations at the Transportation Center when the center is closed at night. Following posting of additional signage, we anticipate enforcement to occur in the coming days. The Homeless Task Force, which includes three Council members and seven members of the community, is working on long-term strategies and a comprehensive community plan for addressing homelessness.