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OC homeless advocates want county to find administrator to run shelter

Volunteer Marge Preston, right, works with Angela Colantuono during a weekly outreach assessment put on by the Coast to Coast Foundation in partnership with the Fullerton Police Department on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at Pacific Drive Park. Colantuono has been homeless in Fullerton for seven years. She asks for help with health insurance on Thursday.
Volunteer Marge Preston, right, works with Angela Colantuono during a weekly outreach assessment put on by the Coast to Coast Foundation in partnership with the Fullerton Police Department on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at Pacific Drive Park. Colantuono has been homeless in Fullerton for seven years. She asks for help with health insurance on Thursday.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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An Orange County commission on homelessness voted Friday to ask the Board of Supervisors to put out a call for providers interested in running a year-round emergency homeless shelter.

Members of the public-private Commission to End Homelessness want the county to start looking for a group (for-profit or nonprofit) to run the future shelter in order to speed up the process and also head off any delays if the property acquisition doesn't pan out.

The advocates are recommending this after two years of frustrated efforts to build a year-round emergency homeless refuge. Two sites were identified over the last two years but neighborhood opposition killed both those plans.

Earlier this week, Supervisor Todd Spitzer announced a new potential site in Anaheim and directed county real estate staff to start negotiations for securing it.

Homeless commission members on Friday expressed support for Spitzer's plan but also worried about losing time if it fell through.

“If we wait several months, then it just gets us behind,” said Scott Larson, executive director of the nonprofit HomeAid and chair of the homeless commission.

Next month, the county's seasonal shelters, each providing 200 emergency floor mats for the homeless, will close for the year. Orange County officials have been trying to replace these two buildings, known as the armories, in Santa Ana and Fullerton, with a permanent one.

It will be up to the Board of Supervisors to decide if they'll consider the commission's request.