Much of Orange County is transporting homeless individuals into Santa Ana, positioning an unfair burden on that city to address the county’s homelessness crisis, city authorities allege in court documents submitted Monday.
The filing marks the city’s latest effort seeking legal relief over this problem. And this time, authorities have some numbers and extra data that they hope will show their point that lots of other cities in the county are “discarding” their homeless in Santa Ana.
“We now have better proof that the county did not stop this practice. It’s just being carried out in other ways,” Santa Ana City Supervisor Kristine Ridge said.
Santa Ana authorities and citizens have long complained that they‘ve ended up being a disposing ground for the homeless.
In January, the city submitted a lawsuit versus the county and three cities in south county. They soon dropped Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano from the claim, but pushed forward versus Orange County.
In February, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter showed he needed more data to make a judgment. He asked Santa Ana authorities: “Do you have some statistics for me?”
At the time, attorneys for Santa Ana did not. Carter rejected the city’s ask for an injunction, saying he would reassess if the city came back with specific data.
The city is back with those numbers by means of a changed problem submitted Monday in U.S. District Court.
Local authorities companies throughout parts of the county are apprehending homeless individuals in their cities “as a way of minimizing their homeless populations,” the problem alleges. The arrested homeless are brought to the county’s Intake Release Center in Santa Ana, where they are processed and released instead of being carried back to their own cities.
Some cities, such as Irvine and Los Alamitos, do not track those arrests, according to the claim. But the cities that do track those arrests provide a window into the number of individuals are being brought from other cities to Santa Ana.
Since July 23, 2019, that’s ranged from 11 individuals arrested in La Habra to 286 arrested in Laguna Beach. Individuals likewise have actually been moved into Santa Ana from Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, La Palma and Placentia, according to the claim.
Santa Ana authorities implicate Orange County of being in infraction of an agreement coming from a lawsuit called the Orange County Catholic Employee case, which has actually resulted in brand-new homeless shelters, opened or planned, in about a dozen Orange County cities and a minimum of 2 surrounding communities in Los Angeles County.
Under the contract, homeless individuals would not be carried to shelters outside their instant area, called service planning areas. But Ridge said that’s still happening.
The claim seeks a court order prohibiting the county from transporting homeless individuals throughout their own service planning area, among other things.
Orange County Board of Supervisor Andrew Do, in an e-mailed declaration Tuesday, called the claims “completely groundless” and a “political stunt.”
Do did not respond to specific concerns about claims in the claim.
Santa Ana authorities said transfers from other communities have actually resulted in to an out of proportion variety of homeless individuals in their city. From 2017 to 2019, homelessness in Orange County increased by 43 %; but in Santa Ana, homelessness increased by 77 %, according to the claim. Since April 2019, more than 25 % of the county’s homeless resided in Santa Ana.
“This is by far the largest variety of individuals experiencing homelessness of any city in Orange County, despite the fact that Santa Ana is among the County’s poorest, most diverse cities, least able to address the impact of homelessness,” the claim states.
The pressure of hosting many homeless touches lots of people in Santa Ana.
“It’s having a significant negative effect on their lifestyle,” Ridge said. “It’s not just the citizens but the small business owners.”
Santa Ana authorities said the pandemic got worse the problem after the county executed “difficult” testing requirements for individuals seeking to utilize the county-run shelter called The Courtyard in Santa Ana. That testing, according to the claim, has actually increased homelessness in the city because individuals who can’t enter into the shelter typically “stay in the area.”
And while capacity at The Courtyard has actually decreased because of the pandemic, county authorities have actually failed to offer more beds in other places, according to the claim.
In the claim, Santa Ana authorities are asking the county to ease-up on the entry requirements at The Courtyard and offer other emergency shelters outside of Santa Ana. The claim likewise requests for the county to carry recently-released jail prisoners back to their original cities.