(A jug of syringes collected at the Santa Ana Riverbed)
Orange County officials have a plan to clear out the homeless encampments from the Santa Ana Riverbed next week, and hand out as many as 400 motel vouchers to homeless people with nowhere to go.
The tentative agreement was reached yesterday during a hearing over a federal lawsuit challenging the county's efforts to remove homeless people and their belongings from the river.
U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter agreed that the county can start clearing out the encampments on February 20th over the course of 3 to 6 days. Notices will be posted today warning riverbed dwellers of the plan.
People who accept the vouchers will be allowed to stay in a motel for 30 days. The county will also add 32 beds Bridges at Kraemer Place shelter and another 60 beds in the shelter's parking lot. 100 beds will be added to WISEPlace shelter for women in Santa Ana, a facility in Orange will get 100 beds or tents, and 120 beds or tents will go on land the county owns near the Orange County Registrar of Voters.
Judge Carter also ordered mental health professionals from the V.A. in Long Beach to help sheriff's deputies during the clearing out of the camp to help homeless veterans.