Orange County officials look to pair housing for homeless with mental health services

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 07:24PM
With homeless camps being cleared from the Santa Ana River, Orange County is now looking at the next step in getting those out in the cold inside.


SANTA ANA, Calif. - With homeless camps being cleared from the Santa Ana River, Orange County is now looking at the next step in getting those out in the cold inside, and that plan centers around a commercial building in the city of Orange.

"It provides us with wrap-around services. Mental health treatment as well," said Andrew Do, Orange County supervisor. "From the beginning of the process in terms of crisis stabilization through treatment, through the ability to have longer holds on patients, and then ultimately to have the mental health treatment center as well."

The building will cost the county $8 million and millions more will be needed to convert it into a care facility.

The county plan is ambitious, but it depends in part on the homeless seeking treatment.

"It doesn't really matter as long as I can smoke at least some weed," said one homeless man named Brian. "I'm happy with just that."

Brian said he doesn't want someone telling him what to do, even if it does mean a roof over his head. "Just have fun, as long as you have fun, that's pretty much it," he said.

It will take more than a building to solve the homeless crisis, but it is a start, and county leaders understand plenty of hard work will be needed going forward.
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