Judge Forces Sides To Find Solution For California Homeless


Public officials have reached an agreement with advocates for the homeless to provide shelter the homeless individuals that are being forced to move from a riverbed encampment in Southern California.

Officials working for Orange County have agreed to use motels and other facilities in the area to provide beds to as many as 800 homeless people that have been told to leave the encampment in Anaheim.

Andrew Do, Orange County Supervisor, says the county is pledging 400 motels rooms for immediate use. Do said that county will also add beds to facilities already in use to house the homeless and if need be will also place a large tent on a parking lot owned by the county.

Brook Weitzman, an attorney working on behalf of the homeless, expressed concerns that people being removed from the encampment would be distrustful of the gesture on the part of the county to provide help for them on such a short notice. Judge David O. Carter, United States District Court Judge informed Weitzman that notices would be provided as soon as possible and also said he was taking the word given by the county in good faith.

Judge Carter explained that he understands that some of these homeless individuals will not want help and will choose instead to take up camp elsewhere.

Both sides have agreed that social workers will be entrusted with the task of finding more permanent housing for the homeless following the initial relocation which is scheduled to take place next week.

The deal was made between the two sides after Judge Carter called for a hearing on Tuesday. The hearing involved Orange County officials, a group representing military veterans, and advocates for the rights of women. Carter gave them the task at the hearing to come up with a solution ‘now’ while all parties are present.

Carter asked those present why it was not possible for temporary housing facilities to be quickly built when entire villages have been built in a day in Afghanistan using funding from the United States.

The Orange County case is being watched closely by advocates for the homeless across the state as the numbers of homeless people in California is rising rapidly in recent months. The rising cost of housing and low vacancy rates in the state are said to be the main culprits driving this phenomenon.

If the Orange County undertaking proves successful, it is expected that advocates in other locales will push officials to enact similar remedies.