SANTA ANA, Calif. – The City of Santa Ana is disheartened and disappointed to learn that on Friday, Oct. 21, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter gave the green light to the County of Orange to open a cold weather shelter at the National Guard Armory located at 612 E. Warner Ave.
This followed his ruling just one week earlier blocking the County’s attempt to open a cold weather shelter in Santa Ana. It isn’t clear whether a cold weather shelter at the Armory will actually open, as the County stated several times at Friday’s hearing that it had not been able to find a provider to operate the shelter.
“Although I have tremendous respect for the Court, the drastic reversal by Judge Carter to allow the County of Orange to force yet another homeless shelter on the people of Santa Ana is a slap in the face of our community,” Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said. “The City and people of Santa Ana shouldn’t have to take on this responsibility and the impacts to our streets, neighborhoods and businesses time and again, while more affluent cities do nothing.”
The City argued, and Judge Carter agreed during both court proceedings, that homelessness is a regional and countywide issue that every city in Orange County should help address, particularly in South County, which has a severe lack of shelter beds. The City also believes that an emergency does not exist to warrant opening the cold weather shelter in Santa Ana, since the County already operates a year-round shelter with 425 beds here and the City operates a year-round shelter with 200 beds.
The County only has plans to proceed with a cold weather shelter in Santa Ana and stated at Friday’s hearing that it has no plans to open a cold weather shelter in any of the other 33 cities in Orange County. Once again, the Santa Ana community is being asked to shoulder most of the responsibility and impacts of caring for Orange County’s unhoused population.
The City of Santa Ana calls on the County of Orange to once and for all address the homelessness crisis at a countywide level. The County should do what’s best for people experiencing homelessness in every city by providing local shelters, instead of forcing unhoused individuals to come to Santa Ana.