Homelessness: Orange County Approves $1.6 Million to Prevent Return of Riverbed & Civic Center Encampments

(Santa Ana, CA) – Orange County is taking steps to prevent the return of homeless encampments at the Santa Ana Civic Center and Riverbed, which were permanently cleared earlier this year.

On Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved $1.6 million for supportive housing services for homeless individuals that were removed from the Santa Ana Riverbed and Civic Center. In March, the county cleared 13,950 needles, 400 tons of debris and 5,279 pounds of hazardous waste from the Riverbed encampment.

“Today’s action will help prevent the return of homeless encampments at the Civic Center and Riverbed,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.  “Orange County will continue to do everything we can to address homelessness, but we need help from our cities to increase long-term housing capacity and emergency shelter facilities.”

Under an agreement with the Illumination Foundation, the County will provide funding for a minimum of 60 people, who are chronically homeless, to receive temporary housing at a motel while searching for long-term independent or supported housing in the community.

Individuals will be referred through the County’s Health Care Agency and will receive supportive services including case management, physical and mental health, substance abuse and  housing navigation on site through health care professionals. Meals, transportation and storage facilities will also be provided.

Homeless individuals that participate in the program will be required to sign and adhere to a code of conduct that spells out behavioral expectations in order to receive the housing assistance.

“Orange County will continue to provide help for people that want to get back on their feet and take control of their lives,” said Supervisor Do.

Last month, county officials removed 234 people from the Santa Ana Civic Center Plaza of the Flags. More than 700 people were removed from a homeless camp along the Santa Ana Riverbed in February.

Since July 1, 2017, the County and its contractor, City Net, have contacted 1,182 individuals from the Santa Ana Riverbed and Civic Center about assistance services, of whom 58 percent accepted help.