Deal reached on re­lo­cat­ing evicted Cal­i­for­nia home­less

Manteca Bulletin - - Local/ State -

SANTA ANA (AP) — Pub­lic of­fi­cials and home­less ad­vo­cates reached an agree­ment Tues­day on pro­vid­ing for home­less peo­ple who are be­ing evicted from an en­camp­ment in a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia riverbed.

Or­ange County of­fi­cials said they would use mo­tels and other means to get 700 to 800 beds for the home­less driven from the en­camp­ment in Ana­heim.

“We pledge up to 400 mo­tel rooms, im­me­di­ately,” County Su­per­vi­sor An­drew Do told the court, adding that the county would also add beds to other fa­cil­i­ties and could put up a tent on a county-owned park­ing lot if space was needed.

Brooke Weitz­man, an at­tor­ney for the plain­tiffs seek­ing to stop the evic­tion, said she was con­cerned that the tent dwellers would not trust county of­fi­cials’ of­fer of help on such short no­tice, but U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter told her no­tices would go up as soon as Wed­nes­day and he trusted their word.

He said he sus­pected home­less res­i­dents who don’t want help, and want to wan­der, will move else­where.

“If you want to solve this, this is the one op­por­tu­nity we re­ally have, all the county lead­ers and the city lead­ers in one place,” Carter said, af­ter of­fi­cials emerged from four hours of talks.

The sides agreed that so­cial work­ers would help the home­less find longer term hous­ing af­ter the ini­tial re­lo­ca­tion, which will take place in a week.

The deal came at the de­mand of Carter, who called the sides in for the un­usual hear­ing on Tues­day and is known for sum­mon­ing pub­lic of­fi­cials for ques­tion­ing.

He called on Or­ange County of­fi­cials, vet­er­ans, women’s ad­vo­cates and oth­ers to step up and of­fer so­lu­tions for those liv­ing on the two-mile (3.2 kilo­me­ter) stretch of riverbed trail once pop­u­lar with jog­gers and bik­ers that has been over­run by tents, trash and hu­man waste.

Carter said he plans to visit the en­camp­ment on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Early in the hear­ing, he asked why tem­po­rary hous­ing couldn’t be built quickly, when he has seen vil­lages built overnight with U. S. fund­ing in Afghanistan.

“Where is the lead­er­ship to get this done in this county po­ten­tially? Where is the long-term so­lu­tion here?” he asked.

The case is be­ing watched by home­less ad­vo­cates along the West Coast and else­where grap­pling with a rise in home­less­ness caused in part by soar­ing hous­ing costs, rock-bot­tom va­cancy rates and a roar­ing econ­omy.

The rul­ing will only cover peo­ple liv­ing in the en­camp­ment near the sta­dium that hosts the Los An­ge­les An­gels of Ana­heim, but home­less ad­vo­cates else­where might look to the case to make sim­i­lar claims, ex­perts said.

Or­ange County, home to 3.2 mil­lion peo­ple be­tween Los An­ge­les and San Diego, started telling the home­less last month of­fi­cials were clos­ing the en­camp­ment of tents and tarps and of­fer­ing to store be­long­ings and help find shel­ter.

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