New site proposed in Anaheim for OC homeless shelter

1000 N Kraemer Pl, Anaheim, CA, the site of a proposed homeless shelter.
1000 N Kraemer Pl, Anaheim, CA, the site of a proposed homeless shelter.
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1000 N Kraemer Pl, Anaheim, CA, the site of a proposed homeless shelter.
Kristen Konig sits in front of the Fullerton Armory, which offers housing for the homeless population in Orange County during the holiday season. Konig is originally from Orange County and has been in and out of shelters for the past seven years.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

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During a meeting on Tuesday the Orange County Board of Supervisors discussed a new site for a permanent year-round homeless shelter, but this location already has its detractors who say it's far from where the homeless actually live.

Located at 1000 North Kraemer Place in Anaheim, the space is priced at $4.2 million and is bordered by the 91 Freeway and La Palma Avenue.

“The new site theoretically will have less community opposition, even though it may not serve the population there, and it may not have as significant of an impact on the population at La Palma Park.” Bob Cerince said. He heads up the Anaheim Poverty Task Force, a committee with the Orange County Congregation Community Organization.

He said a previous building located at Harbor Boulevard and the 91 Freeway near La Palma Park would be better. It’s closer to places where the homeless can eat and use the library.

For years, the county has been searching for a year-round structure to replace the region’s two large seasonal shelters, but opposition from residents in Fullerton and Santa Ana has stalled efforts.

The North Kraemer Place venue is in a light industrial area with no schools or homes nearby, said board Chairman Todd Spitzer; it's also in his district.

“Based upon on the preliminary analysis,” Spitzer told KPCC. “I just don’t see, initially, where homes are going to be affected.”

The county is trying to find a location to avoid an onslaught of ‘not-in-my-backyard’ complaints the board has gotten in the past with other locations.

Scott Larson is chairman of the county’s Commission to End Homelessness. He said the location has some merits: it’s accessible by bus; it has sidewalks; the size is adequate; the small business foot-traffic is limited.

“I’m glad there’s a site in the mix again,” Larson said.

But he admits it is far from where the homeless in Anaheim gather – almost four miles away from La Palma Park.

County supervisors have asked their real estate team to further investigate potential sites, including this newest proposal.

Meanwhile, the Anaheim City Council will have a follow-up discussion about this location on April 7th, also on the table – how to pay for it.