Irvine rescinds action to place tent city next to Great Park
IRVINE, CA (FOX 11) - UPDATE: "The County Board of Supervisors posted on its website today an agenda item that would rescind its previous action to place a tent city for as many as 400 homeless people on Irvine land that it owns next to the Great Park. Nonstop efforts by the Irvine community, City Council, and staff have had this positive effect. Fortunately, a majority of the Board of Supervisors appears to recognize that the Irvine location for its tent city is not fit for human habitation and unacceptably close to homes, schools, and parks.
"The City Council awaits a definitive vote by the Board on Tuesday, and remains as willing as always to help coordinate a collaborative solution to the countywide crisis of homelessness in a permanent, humane way. The City of Irvine is eager to be a part of that solution."
Residents of Irvine held a rally in front of City Hall, in order to drum up opposition against Orange County's plan to house the homeless in their city.
Melissa Fox from Irvine City Council, says, "We care very much about people and want to give help to that community."
But the signs make it clear that no one wants the solution to be a homeless encampment in the city of Irvine.
Resident Lee Sun says, "Together we will stop this unconscionable proposal by county supervisors to bring more than 400 homeless people to the great city of Irvine."
A federal judge forced Orange County to come up with a plan to house the homeless, moved from the Santa Ana riverbed and temporarily given shelter in local motels. One of three sites suggested is Great Park in Irvine.
"It's not like we're moving them into a shelter, per se. They're basically picking up their tents and putting them on land that actually contaminated. There's no running water, no electricity and no sewer system.
Homeless Advocate Brooke Weitzman says, "We certainly wouldn't support anything that didn't include bathrooms and showers. Without those, no one is better off than they were in the river bed."
Fifteen years ago, Irvine zones the property for homeless use. Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson said, Just last year, a homeless shelter was part of an EIR the county circulated for comment. There were no comments about that item. When push comes to shove, people will plan because they have to but no one wants a homeless shelter in their neighborhood."
Nelson wants naysayers to know that without a plan, the judge will not allow Irvine or any other city in Orange County to enforce their overnight camping or trespassing laws, leaving open the possibility the homeless would have their pick of places to be.
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