For the last few months, Orange County has been methodically and deliberately clearing the massive homeless encampments along the banks of the Santa Ana River.
Officials started at the Pacific Ocean and moved north. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department will start clearing the last and largest encampment near Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Officials estimate that between 500 and 1,000 people live there.
As Orange County’s homeless crisis spiraled in the last few years, the river became a favorite landing spot for those without anyplace to live. The area became the upscale suburban county’s closest equivalent to skid row.
However, the Los Angeles Times reports, complaints from the region’s white elites prompted the county to crack down hard. Not a lot of sympathy…just a lot of police.
Little consideration has been given to where those pushed out of the river encampment will go. Sky-high rents and a lack of beds for the homeless in Orange County mean that many of those evicted will have to find other public spaces to sleep. There is one shelter program space for every two homeless people in the county.
There are an estimated 4,800 homeless people in Orange County. Officials have responded to the rising homeless population by adding 525 beds. That’s just great.
Brutal officials like County Supervisor Todd Spitzer could care less. There message is clear. If you’re poor, homeless, mentally-ill, or a person of color, Orange County has only one thing to tell you: Get out!