A new permanent bridge shelter on Costa Mesa’s Airway Avenue was taking shape Tuesday — one Allen wrench turn at a time — as IKEA designers and volunteers worked side by side assembling donated furniture in advance of a mid-April opening.
The 12,285-square-foot facility for people who are homeless has been in the works since 2019 when city officials opened an interim temporary shelter at Lighthouse Church of the Nazarene on the city’s westside.
The move was part of a settlement agreement that stipulated Costa Mesa — one of several Orange County cities named in a 2018 complaint — could not enforce anti-camping ordinances without offering a means for homeless individuals to transition to permanent and stable housing.
Later that year, the city purchased an industrial warehouse that would be partially retrofitted to accommodate a 72-bed shelter with separate quarters for men and women, a common area with a full-service kitchen and office and intake space.
Buildout of the $11.5-million project could wrap up as soon as this month, allowing staff to move in by early April with clients to follow soon after. Assistant City Manager Susan Price said residents at Lighthouse and at-risk individuals who’ve been riding out the coronavirus pandemic in motel rooms will be transitioned before the intake of new clients begins.