Federal Judge Temporarily Bars Orange County From Evicting Homeless People From Riverbed Encampments

Orange County officials want to clear the county’s largest homeless encampment, a tent city along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim and Orange where several hundred people live as of early 2018. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County officials want to clear the county’s largest homeless encampment, a tent city along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim and Orange where several hundred people live as of early 2018. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

A federal judge on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order barring Orange County Sheriff’s deputies from arresting homeless people who refuse to leave encampments along the Santa Ana River.

U.S. District Judge David Carter’s order is related to a lawsuit filed Jan. 29 seeking to halt an ongoing effort to clear homeless people who have set up camp along the river trail and prevent three cities — Anaheim, Costa Mesa and Orange — from enforcing anti-camping, trespassing and loitering laws.

The lawsuit alleges the county and cities have taken actions that forced hundreds of homeless people to move to the riverbed and is now moving to push those people back into cities without plans to provide adequate housing and shelter.

“The court will not allow haphazard, hurried enforcement action in an effort to clear the population …,” Carter wrote in his order.

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