Santa Ana Bus Terminal Converted to Transitional Shelter for the Homeless

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The shelter is a partial response to a swelling homeless problem in the city that houses most of Orange County’s administrative and government offices. The Board of Supervisors also has given the go-ahead to build the county’s first year-round homeless shelter in Anaheim, with construction expected to be completed by late 2017.Denise Aken, 58, who has been homeless for 19 months, rests under the roof at the Courtyard, a downtown Santa Ana bus terminal that recently opened its doors to the hundreds of homeless living at the Civic Center. (Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Denise Aken once ran a boarding house, caring for tenants in Anaheim. But job loss and illness sent her to the streets around Santa Ana’s Civic Center, where she struggled to find a safe space to spread her belongings and rest her body.

Before, when she needed to go anywhere, “I had to persuade someone to watch my stuff and wonder if it’d be there when I get back,” Aken said.

But since the recent opening of a transitional shelter at an old bus terminal, she said she is less fearful.

“I have a corner of my own,” said Aken, 58.  “I have bins for storage. There are bathrooms, and the showers will be installed soon. I’ve waited and waited for the chance to get into government housing, and this is a good spot to be in until then.”

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