Irvine residents fight new plan for 400 homeless to live in tents on county-owned land

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of concerned citizens spoke out Thursday night against a plan to create a large tent camp for the homeless near a park in Irvine.

"It's a concern for the safety of our children, but it's also an environmental concern. You can't have 400 people on an open plot that has nothing," Claudia Sawaf said.

The initial proposal from the Orange County Board of Supervisors called for housing for 200 on the county-owned property near Great Park, with others going to Laguna Niguel and Huntington Beach. This came after 700 homeless people were removed from the Santa Ana River Trail.

But a new proposal on the table would eliminate the other cities and create temporary housing for 400 homeless people in Irvine.

All three proposed cities have chosen to take taken legal action, and a federal judge invited both sides and every Orange County mayor to a hearing on April 3.

Irvine's mayor said there is no one-size fits all approach to fixing a problem, but said the land in question with no water, sewer or electricity is not the answer.

"It's not appropriate to house human beings in contaminated land in tents without any of the basic resources that you and I take for granted," Mayor Don Wagner said.

Irvine residents called for a unified show of opposition to the plan for the next supervisors meeting on Tuesday morning.
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