Today, Councilmember Phil Bacerra, Councilmember David Penaloza, a representative of Mayor Valerie Amezcua, and over two dozen residents, neighborhood leaders and City staff spoke at the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting to oppose a County contract extension with Mental Health Association of Orange County (MHA.)
Although we didn’t get the outcome we had hoped for – denial of a contract extension for MHA – the Board said that MHA can no longer operate its homeless multi-service center at 2416 S. Main St. past 2024. This is ultimately a win for the residents, businesses, schools and neighborhoods who for years have been dealing with the public health and safety impacts of MHA’s operations.
Without our City leaders and residents coming out to advocate for the Santa Ana community, the Board of Supervisors might have continued to extend the MHA contract indefinitely. MHA’s operation has led to increased numbers of police calls and homeless individuals living in the area. Today, residents shared how MHA’s operations have made them feel unsafe in their own neighborhood.
Initially, a motion by Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento, seconded by Supervisor Katrina Foley, not to renew MHA’s contract failed on a 2-3 vote. However, the Board then voted 3-2 to renew the contract for only one year, with a requirement that MHA find a new location for its multi-service center in that time. If MHA fails to do so, the motion stated that the County’s contract with MHA would not be renewed again.
MHA’s one-year contract extension is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2024. While MHA operates over the next year, the City of Santa Ana will continue its efforts to provide police support and homeless outreach in the area. We encourage anyone who believes an unhoused individual needs assistance to call our homeless outreach team at 714-242-3706 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.
Find more homeless resources and programs from the City of Santa Ana at www.santa-ana.org/homeless.
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