Homelessness Crisis? Orange County Grand Jury To Local Governments: Pull Your Fingers Out and Cooperate!

Day 2 of a 1-day homeless camp at the Santa Ana Civic Centre. Move along now, move along.

A recent U. S. District court decision caused government consternation and dismay at several levels in Orange County California as officials scrambled frantically for weeks to mitigate a crisis of their own making.

The crisis? People living in a homeless encampment on the riverbed of the Santa Ana river were to be evicted. The evictors were smug in the knowledge that it was really only a crisis for hundreds who would be evicted. Nearby residents and their government agents were satisfied and relieved by the eviction, themselves untouched by the crisis. The homeless would, as always, ‘move on,’ thus conveniently evaporating themselves from the consciences of Orange County home-dwellers and their various levels of government.

Except, that’s not quite what happened.

The eviction was appealed, and U.S. District Judge David O. Conner ruled that the hundreds could not be evicted unless shelter was provided them. Suddenly, a breath of cold air blew across the warm, sunny indifference of Orange County. The landscape changed, crawling with aid workers, official and unofficial, as local authorities scrambled to undo the consequence of their callous plans. For an interim report on their efforts, try: Homeless Bubbles. Moveable . . . Sure. Drainable? The Jury’s Out.

Now an Orange County Grand Jury has called ‘enough’ on government infighting and resident NIMBYism that has conveniently fogged the battlefield of what urgently needs to be a war against homelessness, and not a war against the people who are homeless. Read more in the Voice of OC: Grand Jury to Cities & County: Stop Fighting, Form Regional Homelessness Board


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