This morning, the Public Law Center and our partner, The Kennedy Commission, filed a Amicus Curiae “Friend of the Court” Brief in support of the plaintiffs in Orange County Catholic Worker v. Orange County. We ask the Court to enjoin the evictions at the Santa Ana Riverbed and stop law enforcement from arresting persons in Orange County who are homeless and who lack affordable housing options. The underlining ordinances are not designed to solve the humanitarian crisis of homelessness, but are rather designed to criminalize the unavoidable behaviors of homeless people such as sleeping outside or having property and no place to store it.
The housing options are abysmal for people in Orange County who reside in low-income communities. A recent study found that Orange County needs at least 109,965 more affordable rental homes. Renters need to earn more than 3.5 times the local minimum wage just to afford the base median rent for an apartment in Orange County. The situation for homeless people in Orange County is dire. The Point-In-Time Count for Orange County that took place on January 28, 2017, the most recent for which data is available, registered 4,792 persons who are homeless on any given night, and by all accounts, the numbers are growing.