Infighting and Legal Threats As Another OC Homeless Camp Cleanup Project Gets Underway

Orange County officials are preparing for another round of homeless evictions — this time at the Santa Ana Civic Center Plaza. The process will get underway this week, as the rift between Orange County and its communities over homelessness is widening.

The county had planned to begin moving some homeless to county properties in the cities of Irvine, Laguna Niguel, and Huntington Beach. But residents in the three cities pushed back and the county ultimately nixed those plans amid threats of legal action.

On Friday, one day after that decision, the City of Santa Ana voted to explore its own legal options against the county and its 33 other cities.

"Our position is that we just want the problem to be fairly shouldered by all 34 cities," said Santa Ana City Councilman Vicente Sarmiento. The intent of such a suit would be to give the city greater standing before federal court District Judge David O. Carter who is overseeing a pair of civil rights lawsuits over homelessness, he added.

Orange County’s cities will have a chance to be heard and forge solutions Tuesday. Judge Carter has asked the mayors and city managers from all cities in the county appear before him in court on April 3.

“I would think that any mayor or city manager who cares about their city will be here,” he said.

The first phase of the Santa Ana Civic Center cleanup will begin today. Health Care Agency outreach workers will descend on the area around City Hall to assess individuals’ needs and provide referrals to a variety of county-run shelters in Anaheim and Santa Ana.

There are an estimated 206 people living on the streets around the Civic Center right now.

Read more:

Santa Ana to begin clearing homeless people from Civic Center area, as resettlement of riverbed homeless winds down 

Orange County approved — then caved — on a plan to shelter homeless people 

Santa Ana Prepares to Sue Orange County for Aid with Homelessness