An Orange County Superior Court judge is expected to weigh in Thursday on the county’s plan to convert a 76-room hotel in Laguna Hills into temporary housing and medical facilities for homeless people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Laguna Hills, a city of roughly 31,000 in the southern section of the county, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the hotel’s owner, the county and a nonprofit specializing in homeless outreach in an effort to block the effort. The owners of four buildings adjacent to the hotel, who also oppose the plan, joined in the suit.
The county brokered an agreement this month with Elite Hospitality Inc. to lease the Laguna Hills Inn for at least 90 days to shelter and provide medical care for homeless individuals who are over 65, have underlying health conditions, are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
However, city officials, who say they didn’t know about the agreement until after it was signed, object to having sick and at-risk homeless patients so close to neighborhoods in their community. They contend the county’s plan would “present a high and unacceptable risk of propagation of the virus to the businesses and customers frequenting the area as well as nearby residential neighborhoods,” the lawsuit states.
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