The Link

Q. What kind of shelter is The Link?

A. The Link is a 24-hour emergency homeless shelter facility in the city of Santa Ana that is ADA Accessible and serves homeless men, women, and families with minor aged children women and adult couples. The shelter’s primary focus is assisting program participants with creating a housing plan, making connections to housing resources and ending their homelessness as soon as possible. The shelter will have 200 beds and will have office and meeting space to offer additional services.

Q. Can I walk up to the shelter?

A. This program maintains a strict no-walk-up policy. Clients without personal vehicles must take the shuttle to and from the shelter. Bicycle racks are available on the shuttle and must be used for those who own bikes.

Q. Who can use this shelter?
A. The shelter will serve homeless men, women, and families with minor aged children, and adult couples with the following criteria. Combination of both of the following:

Last Permanent Address in Santa Ana

  • -Driver’s License
  • -Utility Bill
  • -Rental Agreement
  • -Bank Statements
  • -Car Registration
  • -Or other  documentation as such

Strong ties to Santa Ana

  • -Children enrolled in Santa Ana School (Proof of Enrollment)
  • -Employed in Santa Ana (Proof of Paystub)
  • -Graduated from Santa Ana High Schoo


Q. How long can someone stay here?

A. The goal of this shelter is to connect participants to housing as quickly as possible. In cases where housing barriers require additional time, Housing Navigators will provide support towards Housing Stabilization.

Q. Is there a mandatory program or curriculum for participants?

A. No. This is not a faith-based or step-based program; however, all clients are expected to participate in pursuing a customized housing plan to the extent that they are able to. All clients are assigned a Navigator who will help them connect with existing resources and move toward their housing goals.

Q. What about people with bicycles or vehicles?

A. Clients who have street-legal vehicles and can produce license and registration for those vehicles will be provided with assigned parking. Unlicensed or unregistered vehicles will not be allowed on site. RVs and trailers are prohibited and will not be assigned parking. Individuals with independent transportation will be expected to adhere to the shelter’s strict entry and exit times. Those with bicycles must use the provided bike racks on the program’s shuttle.


Q. Who can I call about my concerns regarding the area immediately surrounding this shelter?

A. Alison Sanchez, Emergency Shelter Program Manager 714-836-7188 x 144,


Q. How does someone get into the program?

A. The Link, operated by Mercy House, provides emergency beds for homeless men and women, couples, and families with minor aged children who meet the criteria for eligibility.

All reservations are secured through approved outreach partners who will receive notification when beds become available. Once a referral is received and pre-screened, clients will be transported to the shelter by the referring outreach team. For other resources or shelter services throughout Orange County please call 211.

List of Partners

  • -Santa Ana Police Department
  • -CityNet
  • -HCA – Outreach and Engagement
  • -Illumination Foundation

The Link Shelter Contact Information

Allison Sanchez, Program Manager

Phone: 714 836-7188 ext.144


Behavioral Health Services Outreach and Engagement serves homeless and at risk of homeless individuals dealing with a mental health and/or substance use issue in all Orange County cities. Referrals to the shelter The Link are made from outreach contacts established in the field with this behavioral health homeless population. To learn more about services, call the program’s triage line Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at (800) 364-2221.

Q. Can I bring my pets into the shelter?

A. Yes, one animal per person. Due to limited space, we can allow a maximum of 30 pets/service animals/companion animals at the shelter at one time.

Q. What kind of documents do I need for my Pet, Service Animal or Companion Animal?

A. The following documents are needed for anyone bringing a Pet, Service Animal or Companion Animal into the shelter. These will be photocopied and kept in the case file:

1. Proof of Up-to-Date Vaccinations in the County of Orange
2. Proof of Up-to-Date PetLicense (for dogs) in the County of Orange

Q. What am I responsible for with my Pet, Service Animal or Companion Animal?

A. Any client with a Pet, Service or Companion Animal is responsible for the general well-being of that animal. The client is expected to supervise the animal at all times. Also, the client is solely responsible for the feeding, grooming, veterinary care and toileting of the animal. Mercy House Staff may not supervise or otherwise care for a client’s animal. The animal must be controlled at all times. If the animal proves to be a public nuisance or pose a threat to the general public, the animal may be exited. If an animal is exited from the shelter, the client may continue services at the shelter provided they have found alternate housing for the animal.


Q. Can I bring my kids with me to your shelter?
A. Yes, families with minor children are welcome at the shelter The Link.

Q. I’m a single parent with an 18-year-old daughter. Where do I go for shelter?

A. Children 18 years of age or older are considered adults for Emergency Shelter and

are welcome to stay at the shelter as a single adult.

Q. Are donations accepted at the shelter The Link?

A. Yes, we are currently accepting donations by appointment only on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1pm-4pm. For an updated list of the most current needed items or to schedule an appointment please email Volunteer Associate, Edwin Franco at or via telephone with Alyssa Salazar, Community Engagement Coordinator at (714) 836-7188 ext.124.

Donation items include:

  • -Shampoo (travel sized)
  • -Conditioner (travel sized)
  • -Liquid Body Wash (travel sized)
  • -Tooth Brush and toothpaste
  • -New or Gently used clothing (men, women, children of all sizes)
  • -New undergarments (underwear and bras, all sizes, men women, and children)
  • -New (preferred or very gently used) Shoes (all sizes: men women and children)

Q. How can I volunteer and what are the requirements?
A. To apply and become a volunteer at The Link please complete the following steps:

  1. Send an email to Mercy House Volunteer Associate Edwin Franco at and we will send you an online volunteer application for you to complete. Each volunteer must have one completed
  2. Please allow up to two days for processing. Mercy House staff will connect with you to walk you through the online calendar sign-ups.

Volunteer Requirements:

The minimum age to volunteer for general duties is 13 years old with a parent/guardian who is also signed up to serve. Volunteers who assist with laundry duties must be 18 years of age or older. All volunteers must complete a volunteer application. The volunteer application will screen for violent crimes/offenses and sex offenders. Each volunteer must complete a volunteer application and be cleared prior to arrival. No walk-up volunteers will be accepted.

Q. Are internships available at this program?

A. To apply for an Undergraduate Internship please email Alyssa Salazar, Community Engagement Coordinator at . To apply for an MSW Internship please contact, Grace Brown-Womack at

A. To become a meal sponsor or dinner group, please email Edwin Franco at Dinner groups are required to complete a Food Service Application and complete/provide an up to date certification from a California Approved (ANSI) Food Handler Safety Course. All meals/dinner groups must be approved and scheduled. The shelter does not accept unscheduled meal drop-offs.

Q. What other items outside of a meal are accepted at the shelter?

A. The shelter will be in high demand for the following items:

  • -Granola bars
  • -Sealed and new breakfast cereals
  • -Snacks—individual bags of chips, cookies, crackers
  • -Cup of Noodles, shelf stable items
  • -Gift Cards to Costco for fresh item (fruit, milk, bread)
  • -Activity books for children, board games

For other ways to make an impact at the shelter or for ways to involve your business, connect with Development Director, Irene Drissen at or (714) 836-7188 ext. 142.