IRVINE (CBSLA) — The battle is intensifying over where to relocate hundreds of homeless people in Orange County.
A federal judge recently ordered the county to come up with a plan and it did. But now residents are rising up.
As CBSLA’s Laurie Perez reports, hundreds of Irvine residents showed up at a protest Sunday to voice their opposition to placing Orange County’s homeless population in the city.
The county is considering putting the homeless across from Great Park as it works to handle a persistent homeless problem.
The Great Park area is one of three sites proposed as a temporary shelter in Orange County. It’s just over 100 acres of county-owned land.
Thousands of homeless were evicted from the shores of the Santa Ana riverbed last month. The county wants to move hundreds more out of an encampment outside the Santa Ana Civic Center.
But what started out this week as an idea to create three temporary shelters in Huntington Beach, Laguna Niguel and Irvine, turned into a counter proposal to put all 400 homeless people in a mass tent city on the land across the street from Great Park.
“I have nine grandchildren. I have three grown kids and I would never allow this kind of thing next to my home,” said Irvine Vice Mayor Christina Shea.
A crowd of locals spent Sunday morning not at the park, as they say they often do, but across the street saying this is no place for the county’s swelling homeless population — especially since those who want help have already been placed.
“I hate to say this but the homeless that are planning to come here really represent the worst of them because they’re the ones that aren’t following the rules, that don’t want to give up the drugs, that don’t want to accept services or housing,” said Irvine Commissioner Anthony Kuo. “And to put those across the street from sports fields and a senior community in my mind is just an incompatible use.”
Homeowners say it’s not only a bad plan for them but for the homeless. Some saying the land remains contaminated from use as a Marine Corps Air Station and it won’t give the homeless what they need.
“They are just trying to dump those people in a place in a tent like where they were,” said Chris Yuan.
There has been tremendous pushback, not only in Irvine but in Huntington Beach and Laguna Niguel.
The Board of Supervisors is set to meet Tuesday to continue its work figuring out where to relocate hundreds of homeless people.