Laguna Beach will spend $479,837 in grant money to make improvements to the city’s homeless shelter with work expected to start in November.
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The Alternative Sleeping Location, a city-run emergency shelter, at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road, has been operating year-round since 2009 to provide meals, showers, laundry, and help guests find housing and health care. The facility has worked with over 10,000 people since its opening to help prevent homelessness and serves an average of 160 people every night, according to the shelter’s website.
The Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved funding for the project from the state-run Homeless Emergency Aid program in September. The program “was established to provide direct assistance to California’s homeless Continuums of Care and large cities to address the homelessness crisis throughout the state,” according to the state website
The project will replace flooring, renovate bathrooms, and add a new accessible handicap ramp, among other upgrades during the estimated eight-week renovations. A temporary facility will be available in the adjacent storage area to continue shelter services during the construction, according to a city staff report.
“The first step of the renovation is the allocation of resources,” Jeremy Frimond, Laguna Beach senior administrative analyst, said regarding the temporary relocation. “We want to minimize the relocation to try to make it as easy as possible for the people who rely on the shelter.”
The temporary shelter will include services with more staff and volunteers, essentials, individual storage, and free bus rides to and from the facility, according to the Laguna Beach city website. The staff report also notes that “these improvements are much needed in order to update and expand the lifespan of the shelter.”
“The goal is to create the most stable environment given the circumstances (with) what is going on,” said Frimond.
The City Council authorized the city manager to execute a contract with Vincor Construction Inc. for $479,837 for the project. An additional $54,954 will be spent on rental of temporary office and restroom trailers.
The Friendship Shelter, which operates the facility, was founded in Laguna Beach in 1988 to “help homeless adults achieve self-sufficiency and become more productive members of our community.”
Councilmember Toni Iseman said during the September meeting that the approval of the renovation “is some really good news in some really bad times.”