Orange County cities present plans toward helping growing homeless population

Saturday, September 8, 2018
OC cities present plans toward helping homeless population
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Orange County cities outlined on Friday how they planned to deal with the growing homeless population.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Friday was the deadline for cities in Orange County to outline to a judge how they planned to deal with the growing homeless population.

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do said real steps were taken toward helping the homeless community.

In another federal court hearing, several cities have timelines and plans to build shelters, creating beds for those in need.

"It's a significant step forward for the whole county, in term of a regional solution to homelessness," Do said.

Santa Ana is leading the way, promising a total of 600 beds that will replace the courtyard.

Costa Mesa agreed to 62 beds.

Anaheim drafted plans for a shelter with more than 400 beds on Salvation Army property.

The 12 cities north of the 22 Freeway proposed space for a total of 425 to 450 beds at two locations.

This moves these cities toward settling lawsuits with organizations representing the homeless community, avoiding expensive litigation.

"Rather than talk about doing things or fighting about doing things, we're actually going to do stuff, get beds put in place, and get people who need our help, in shelters," Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said.

These plans will take time to build and get up and running.

In the meantime, the cities have offered emergency shelter beds to house the homeless, a welcome outcome for lawyers representing the homeless.

"Thirty years of neglect and grand jury report after grand jury report, we're seeing for the first time commitments to open up things within 30 days, 45, days, 60 days," Brooke Weitzman of the Elder Law and Disability Rights Center said.

Still, the question from the judge and participating cities is how and when cities south in the county will do their part.