Orange County Board votes to rescind plan for temporary housing for homeless in 3 cities

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Following a large protest by residents and activists, the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to rescind its plan to erect tents to temporarily house homeless people in Irvine, Huntington Beach and Laguna Niguel.

As many as 2,000 people were at the protest over the so-called "tent city" proposal plan. Around 1,000 of the protesters came from Irvine. They chanted "no tent city" in unison as they held signs with slogans slamming the proposal.

The board members at the meeting talked about walking back the suggested proposal to build the temporary homeless camps in the three cities. The issue was brought up very early in the meeting, with Supervisor Lisa Bartlett admitting that there had been a lack of clear information when the plan was proposed last week, which caused what she called "unnecessary panic."

The supervisors also voted to spend $70.5 million on services on mentally ill transients.

The central issue is what to do with all the people who were moved out of local riverbeds and put into motels in February, as well the homeless population currently living near the Santa Ana Civic Center.

Outside the meeting, people on both sides of the issue spoke out.

"The fact of the matter is, Santa Ana has had a tent city for years, and all these people all of a sudden are getting riled up because it's going into their backyards. Police and other cities have continually, for years, dumped their homeless people here so it's about time that other cities take the leadership," said homeless advocate Jose Hernandez.

One Irvine resident, meanwhile, had a different view.

"They're just dumping these poor people in our neighborhoods and communities where there are like six schools and, you know, little children walking to school," said Radhika Athlaye. "Just a general area where it's not right for either the homeless or the residents of Irvine."

Protesters staged a similar demonstration over the weekend at Irvine's Great Park.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.
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