El Niño is now upon us–and Orange County officials have failed to act.
Homeless advocates across the OC call on the OC Board of Supervisors (OC BOS) to act quickly and swiftly to provide shelter for the over 400 people living outdoors in the Santa Ana Civic Center, the 440 people living outdoors in the Santa Ana Riverbed and the hundreds of other people living outside in the OC.
In December, the OC BOS approved a $500,000 action plan to provide emergency shelter for people living outdoors subject to the El Niño storms. This funding included a plan to provide 440 beds for the people living in the Santa Ana Riverbed. The action plan did not account for the hundreds of people living in the Santa Ana Civic Center or elsewhere in the county.
As of Friday, January 8th the county did NOT fulfill its promise of 440 beds as the first El Niño storms swept through the OC, leaving people who live outdoors exposed to the elements and at risk of hypothermia and other weather-related hazards.
Local advocacy organizations including Project Homelessness and Civic Center Round Table have called upon the city of Santa Ana to locate and provide a temporary emergency shelter but to no avail.
Despite the large numbers of people living outdoors in the Santa Ana Civic Center, the county and city of Santa Ana provided no additional shelter during the first El Niño storms.
Both the city and county’s lack of emergency response preparedness deeply affects all residents, whether housed or un-housed. The public loses trust in our public officials when the government fails to act responsibly during an emergency situation.
We call on the OC BOS to IMMEDIATELY designate emergency sites to ensure the health and safety of people living outdoors.
Moreover, we call on the board to recognize the need for affordable, permanent and supportive housing. People who are currently living in our riverbeds, plazas, parks and other outdoor locations would not be in need of emergency services during El Niño storms if they were safely housed. The board must ensure that its own Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness and “housing first” methodology is adequately implemented to avoid such public health and safety catastrophes in the future.
SUPPORT THIS PETITION
To Orange County Board of Supervisors: Provide immediate emergency shelter to ensure the health and safetly of people living outdoors during this El Niño season, and uphold your Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness and “housing first” methodology to avoid such public health and safety catastrophes in the future.
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