Leaders meet to discuss housing for homeless people removed from Santa Ana encampment

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- More than 700 hundred homeless people were removed from an encampment in the Santa Ana riverbed last month and given 30-day motel vouchers.

With those motel stays due to expire in a few days, U.S. District Judge David Carter brought county officials, city officials and homeless advocates and told them to come up solutions.

Late Saturday afternoon they agreed on a plan.

"They're going to agree to phase moving people out of motels 100 people at a time and giving 48 hour's notice, so there isn't just this mass eviction," said Costa Mesa City Councilmember Katrina Foley.

Homeless advocates have argued that there isn't adequate shelter space available for all of the homeless in need of housing. They also say officials need to find a better way to provide resources.

"The problem isn't that the benefit and the money isn't there. It's there," said Sarah Gregory, an attorney for the homeless. "The problem is people with mental health conditions can't get to it, and they're being screened out, so the solution is to make concrete changes to the way these services are being offered."

Orange County city leaders say Saturday's gathering was a step in the right direction.

"The worry was, when those vouchers run out what happens -- certainly on a human level for them but also in the neighborhoods around the motels that people are staying in, people are concerned that there needs to be some kind of orderly transition into shelters and permanent housing," said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. "I think this settlement today goes a long way toward making that happen."
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.