OC builds emergency homeless shelters, but needs long-term solutions

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A little over three years ago, the County of Orange hired its first “homeless czar” to oversee developing strategies (including an emergency shelter system) to tackle a growing homeless population. In that time, the homeless population has risen from around 4,500 in 2017 to 7,000 in 2019. Photo by Jesse Hardman.

A judge ruled that Orange County cannot arrest people for sleeping in public spaces if there are no alternatives. So the county has been creating shelters out of bus stations, motels and warehouses. But reports of conditions in them are not good.