Judge gives Orange County more time to figure out homeless camp situation

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- As lawsuits against the county loom, members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors sent different messages to cities.

On Tuesday, the board approved a plan to place tent camps for the homeless in Irvine, Laguna Niguel and Huntington Beach. Concerned citizens from each city showed up in droves at special council meetings.

"There is a need for general shelter beds in the county. No city wants to be the host. No city does," Supervisor Shawn Nelson said.

During a hearing in federal court, Nelson told Judge David Carter that the only county-owned area zoned for that type of plan is Irvine's Great Park. He stressed that it's for a backup shelter, which may not be needed.

But Supervisor Todd Spitzer said it shouldn't even be an option.

"If you start erecting a tent in Irvine, you're going to scare every single community that they could get tents as well. Tents are inappropriate," he said.

The vote came after Carter asked the county to relocate about 150 people from the Civic Center in addition to the roughly 700 people placed from the river trail.

The judge granted the county more time to come up with a permanent solution for housing the homeless - one thing Spitzer and Nelson agreed on.

"Just give us an opportunity to catch our breath, engage all the cities," Nelson said.

The judge invited both sides and mayors from every Orange County city back on April 3.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.