Homeless housing options compared

Eligibility concerns for Costa Mesa residents discussed, as well as how to spend existing funds.

September 09, 2011|By Lauren Williams

COSTA MESA — City employees and consultants discussed funding housing options for the homeless population with 20 community members during a Friday brown bag meeting.

Some of the options include money provided at the state level by the Mental Health Services Act and money from the federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

However, HOME money comes with strict commitments that would require the city to utilize funds in a specific time frame.

Eligibility requirements were strongly emphasized.

"If we do housing, we are talking about limiting housing to Costa Mesa residents," said Muriel Ullman, neighborhood improvement manager for the city.


Among the items up for discussion were how much it would take to convert a 45-unit motel into supportive housing — about $7.5 million — and the differences between permanent, transition, supportive and emergency housing.

Currently, the redevelopment agency has money that is not committed and could be spent on a housing project, or it could issue bonds of up to $4.5 million for such a project, said Kathey Head, an economic consultant for the city.

Jason Beverly attended the hour-and-a-half meeting as a way to become part of the discussion on homelessness, and in part because homelessness has closely touched his life through his own financial struggles and those of his friends.

"I want to get involved," he said. "I think we can really make a difference in people's lives. I have a heart for it right now. I'm struggling right now. I've known a population … that has struggled."

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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