Activist Post and a few other CT sites are claiming that the city of Santa Clara, California began imprisoning its homeless population a few weeks ago.
Most of the story comes from a highly exaggerated interpretation of an ACLU lawsuit filed against the city. A quick review of the facts quickly dispels the claim.
Although the area has struggled with a growing homeless population for years, a recent local flood control project triggered a clash between the city and homeless people living along the east bank of the Santa Ana River. County officials planned to stockpile boulders and other materials on public land.
The local government did make attempts to help the homeless move from the area earlier this year, according to a February 8, 2017 story in the Orange County Register:
The ACLU lawsuit claims that access to the homeless camp, made difficult by a combination of fencing along Highway 57 and steep embankments along the river, was made impossible by new fencing installed by the county.
The ACLU’s argument was that although healthy individuals could scale the 5 to 6 foot fence or cut holes through the barrier, the elderly and disabled people living on the stretch of county property were “imprisoned” by local authorities.
Last week, Orange County decided to settle with the ACLU.
So, as it turns out, the same officials that Activist Post accused of building a prison camp are actually trying to make a bad situation somewhat better. Orange County committed to a 10-year plan to address homelessness in 2012. Making it a long-term reality will take a combination of job training, drug treatment, medical care, and many other tasks.