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Use 90% vacant residential units @ state hospital for Permanant Supportive Housing

This petition had 1,603 supporters

This is a petition to ask Governor Jerry Brown, along with applicable State, County, and City Representatives to keep the Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa from closing, and to convert the existing, unused 90% of buildings and facilities into transitional/permanent supportive housing and resources for homeless individuals and families, and possibly low cost housing for seniors.

Fairview Developmental Center is a 114 ACRE State-Owned residential facility in Costa Mesa, CA that is currently operated by the Department of Developmental Services and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. F.D.C. opened in 1959 and originally had 752 acres. In 1979, much of the original land was transferred to the city of Costa Mesa. F.D.C. is now surrounded on 3 sides by a golf course. The F.D.C. initially had a 2,622 bed capacity, and was designed to serve 4,125 residents. Now it houses only 270 patients. [If you look at a recent (google earth) aerial image of the site you can see how large it is, but how empty it is by the vacant parking lots.]

The center is scheduled to close by 2021, prompted by 2 state bills {SB 639, by Senator Jeff Stone (R-Marietta) and AB 1405, by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)}. The F.D.C. residents will be transferred to smaller regional centers. The closing is seemingly due to the high cost to the state and taxpayers, given the few people it currently serves. A recent L.A. Times article said that the facility employs 984 (1,500 per May 16, 2015 L.A. Times article) people to serve the 244 current residents. That is at least 4 employees, and a cost of $500,000 for every resident.

My proposal is to use the existing staff more efficiently by cutting non-essential staff, and having the remaining high quality staff serve a larger population by also providing much needed services for the homeless. The residential units are existing, and many buildings on the site are currently being used, so it would appear that the only cost to use them would be minor repairs and utilities (and maybe some building code upgrades). If the new residents receive any money from unemployment or government assistance programs, maybe they could contribute a small amount to cover the utilities, or they could possibly do maintenance/day work in exchange for housing vouchers. Plus, the F.D.C. has its own on-site power plant (presumably not subject to typical price markups) which should be very inexpensive.

In any case, using Existing Vacant housing should be much cheaper than finding new land and constructing new buildings to house the homeless, which would probably require raising taxes (see recent L.A. Times articles regarding the homeless situation in Los Angeles).

Other existing on-site facilities include: a Poice Department and vehicles - to maintain security within/around the center, a Nursing Center & Medical Facilities -which could be used to treat some medical needs of the residents (instead of hospital emergency rooms), Classrooms - which could be used for vocational training, a Donation Center -to raise money for facility costs, School Busses -which could be used as shuttles to take residents to work projects or pick up donations, various Workshops (printing, sewing center) - to provide jobs for some residents, a very large Commercial Kitchen - to provide nutritious on-site meals, Recreational Facilities (swimming pool, soccer fields, gymnasium, etc.), which could be used by the community and charge fees to support the center.

If no action is taken to stop the closure, a Perfect Opportunity is lost. The existing low cost residential buildings & facilities will most likely be demolished and the residents relocated. While there are currently several conflicting/misleading accounts of what exactly will happen to the site, 2 current city council members told me that most (80% or so) of the available land will be sold to build golf course homes (and maybe corporate offices and a high rise hotel)– so as to provide 'necessary funds to build new residential housing for the residents’ (which most likely will have been relocated by then).

The existing site is not the problem, the problem is some alleged mismanagement (see Orange County Register May 15, 2015 article) and underutilization of facilities. I don’t know about you, but I think the LAST thing orange County needs is new golf course homes (there isn’t enough affordable housing as it is for the Vast Majority of citizens) and the FIRST (and long overdue) thing it needs is a safe place for the homeless to sleep and for them to get a real chance for a better life, which this existing facility (in conjunction with the existing local non-profit support services) could easily provide.

Every human being is important, and helping the less fortunate should be a higher priority than catering to the most fortunate. Please see our website for more info, and link to our partners’ websites.  "I've always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that, then I remembered I am somebody."  Tomlin      

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