STATEMENT OF THE ORANGE COUNTY YOUNG DEMOCRATS ON THE UPCOMING EVICTION OF HUNDREDS OF HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS FROM THE SANTA ANA RIVERBED
On January 22, 2018, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will require hundreds of homeless individuals to be forcibly removed from the Santa Ana Riverbed. At the same time, cities across the region continue to enforce the anti-camping laws that originally forced homeless individuals into the Santa Ana Riverbed. The Orange County Young Democrats condemn the Board of Supervisors, as well as those cities and city officials who have passed counterproductive measures. The Board’s actions amount to a senseless and cruel strategy: shuffling homeless populations from municipality to municipality, and abdicating their responsibility for addressing homelessness.
The hundreds of homeless individuals living in the Santa Ana Riverbed will have nowhere safe to go after January 22. For the approximately 4,800 homeless individuals in Orange County, there are only a handful of available shelter beds. The Orange County Register reported that only 18 to 33 shelter beds have been available, on average, each night so far in 2018. Meanwhile, 33 of 34 cities across Orange County enforce laws that effectively criminalize homelessness; Santa Ana’s City Council recently passed one of the harshest examples of anti-homeless ordinances, targeting not only homeless individuals but also the charities that service them.
To meaningfully address the homelessness challenge in Orange County, the Board of Supervisors must make homeless individuals a priority for our County. Moreover, county and city officials must work together to take steps to shelter and house the county’s most vulnerable residents. That includes ensuring provisions for supportive services and shelters are written into city and county general plans, as required by California law (Fair Share Zoning Bill – SB 2 – passed in 2007), and taking steps to develop more affordable housing.
The Orange County Young Democrats urge those who wish to see the homelessness challenge meaningfully addressed to sign the petition (linked in the comment below), and we call upon elected leaders on the Orange County Board of Supervisors and city councils to act responsibly in addressing homelessness rather than neglecting and displacing the poorest of our poor.