Judge Bans Local Governments From Protecting Parks

Housing Crisis

Many people are already familiar with the housing crisis in California. However, this crisis has two parts. First, there is the problem of the young and newly employed being unable to find an affordable places to live. Second, there is the chronic problem of homelessness throughout cities in California.

The issue of the homeless problem reached a crucial point in Orange County recently. It was here a federal judge decreed that local governments cannot enforce anti-camping ordinances unless they have a place to shelter the homeless people they are evicting.

This is a huge problem for the citizens of Orange County. Earlier this year, officials emptied a large encampment of homeless people along the Santa Ana River. With no place to go, Orange County isn't quite sure what to do with these people. There were plans to build temporary shelters in various places, but these plans died after loud protests from local communities.

The ruling came from U.S. District Judge David O. Carter. He admitted that he couldn't determine where the homeless people should go. However, he did say he could stop local governments from enforcing laws that prohibit people from camping in parks and other public areas. Additionally, Carter admitted to being aware of what removing the ability of local governments to enforce these laws could do. In essence, it would make Orange County communities magnets for even homeless people.

The judge feels the harsh ruling is necessary. He stated, "We can't criminalize homeless by citing them in one location, and citing them in another location simply for being homeless." In other words, he believes local governments should be forced to solving the underlying issue for people breaking laws in the first place.

Judge Carter also mentioned the homeless shelters the cities build do not need to be expensive or excessively posh. Instead, they simply need to be clean and humane. He likened the homeless crisis to that of a state of emergency, and he reiterated that something simply must be done.

Judge Carter also pointed out that part of the problem stems from there only being one major homeless shelter in Santa Ana. This draws an excessive amount of homeless people to the area, and it puts an unreasonable burden on the citizens of Santa Ana. Judge Carter believes it is time for other communities to step up and help.

What do you think about this ruling? Let us know below!


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