SANTA ANA, CA — A seemingly never-ending cycle of poverty, just weeks after clearing out the Santa Ana Riverbed. Officials are now trying to clear out the Santa Ana Civic Center where hundreds of homeless live.
They were instructed last week to begin moving — however, there has been no set date for when the plaza must be cleared.
As the homeless crisis in California continues, one Filipino American is taking a stand and using it as a platform for his campaign.
While the Santa Ana Riverbed was still full of homeless resident, Jestin Samson would often visit and talk to the people.
He eventually kicked off his candidacy for state Senate, helping pass out food to them — and with the Riverbed now vacated, he along with other advocates have been a constant presence at Orange County board meetings, calling on county officials to use funds for long-term solutions.
“There are no shelter beds available in the County of Orange, all the shelter beds are full and basically, advocates have been saying this is cruel and unusual punishment to punish conduct that is unavoidable, due to their housing status,” said Samson.
After a federal judge shut down the river bed encampment, where some 700 homeless people were believed to have lived, City and County officials have been scrambling to find housing for the homeless.
They were given more vouchers which have since expired.
Attempts to move them to other Orange County cities have been met with resistance from local residents.
“It’s completely understandable… but what we need to do is not house these individuals in tents but start the process of permanent supporting housing, with wrap around housing.”
An estimated $90 million has been money set aside for homelessness, and the board is now working to appropriate the funds.
Several more meetings between all 34 OC cities and federal courts are expected to take place, and Samson and his fellow advocates plan on being there to make sure their community’s voices are well heard.