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Filed under Opinion, Staff

Meet your new neighbors, The Homeless

The homeless need a home, not tent cities that are being put up in all the wrong places

Cartoon+by+Alexa+Gamo
Cartoon by Alexa Gamo

Cartoon by Alexa Gamo

Cartoon by Alexa Gamo

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Orange County has been extremely disorganized and unprofessional on how they have been dealing with money and the homeless recently. On February 20th Orange County officials already made a questionable decision to move over 700 homeless people from the one place they knew as a home, without any long term plan on what to do with them. Orange County granted the homeless motel rooms for 30 days as they came up with a solution to the problem. The decisions that have been made for the homeless and the cities involved are outrageous and unreasonable.

The Orange County Board of Directors has come up with a plan that has been upsetting everyone in the community. The plan reads that Irvine, Huntington and Laguna Niguel will set up tent cities meant to host hundreds of homeless people for an unknown temporary time.

The first 200 individuals will be sent to a 100-acre spot located in the Great Park near the Irvine Spectrum Center, the next 100 individuals will go to a spot that is currently uninhabitable for residential use due to high levels of methane gas in Huntington and the last 100 individuals will be placed in Laguna Niguel near an elementary school and a local library.

These three locations are not qualified places of sanction for these desperate people who need a welcoming environment. Another thing to add, is that the communities that surround the Irvine and Laguna Niguel locations want to support the homeless, but don’t want to have to risk some of the county’s safest parks and home values that these communities have worked so hard for.

In an article published in Journal of Experimental Criminology, they found that the presence of a homeless shelter increases crime rates by 56% within 100 meters.

These locations were not introduced by locals they were introduced by federal judge David O. Carter who did not ask or educate law enforcement officials on the potential risks with these locations.

Community members of Irvine have been very proactive by receiving over 6,500 signatures for the “Irvine Tent City Protest” petition which was created on the website change.org.

On March 27 nearly 2,000 people showed up to a Orange County Board of Supervisors’ meeting to protest the outrageous plans.

Carter was asked to intervene when $185 million of county funds earmarked for mental health services were discovered and identified as leftover funds from 2016-2017. He along with the Board decided to use $70.5 million of those funds toward the homeless camps.

The fact that the county could have looked over that much money for mental health services in a society that desperately needs more awareness and funding towards mental health, is outrageous and still very disappointing.

The homeless need to stop being passed around and marked as “unwanted”, stop calling them an issue and start looking for a solution. By dispersing them to different areas will not decrease the population, they will only have more anxiety of where they will be sleeping at night because Orange County can’t decide on where to put them.

Instead of using that newly discovered $70.5 million on possibly temporary tent cities, use them on permanent facilities to not just have a bed for the homeless, but mental health services and rehabilitation centers.

Stop discarding the homeless on the nearest plot of empty land, treat them as your neighbor, greet them with a smile and offer them help.

 

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Meet your new neighbors, The Homeless