Orange County officials and attorneys for homeless people, pushed by a federal judge, reached agreement Wednesday on a short-term plan to move and provide shelter for nearly 400 people living along the Santa Ana Riverbed, the largest homeless camp in the county.
Federal Judge David O. Carter began walking the length of the entire Santa Ana River homeless camp before sunrise Wednesday getting a firsthand look at the sprawling camp, stopping to talk with homeless people and even pulling trash out of the river.
Orange County officials have a federal judge's green light to clear out the county’s largest homeless encampment starting next Tuesday, but only if they provide an alternative bed for each of the estimated 400-plus people at the Santa Ana River encampment.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter Tuesday told county and city officials to hurry up and find short-term shelter for the hundreds of homeless people facing eviction from the Santa Ana riverbed. They did.
The Legal Aid Society of Orange County has filed a federal lawsuit against the County of Orange on behalf of seven homeless individuals with disabilities, who lawyers say have not been able to access the county's housing and case management programs because of their disabilities.
Federal Judge David. O Carter halted the county’s Santa Ana riverbed homeless evictions late Tuesday night when he ordered the County of Orange and Anaheim, Orange and Costa Mesa to stop enforcing anti-camping and trespass laws along the riverbed.
"This was a campaign mailer, plain and simple," said Supervisor Todd Spitzer. He and supervisors Shawn Nelson and Lisa Bartlett criticized Supervisor Michelle Steel’s handling of the invitations, which featured herself and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and were sent to 16,000 voters at county taxpayer expense, even though the event only could handle 50 people.
U.S. District Judge David Carter ordered a federal court hearing Feb. 13 that could temporarily stop the county’s eviction of the homeless from the Santa Ana Riverbed after attorney Brooke Weitzman filed a lawsuit against the county and requested a temporary restraining order.