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Costa Mesa motels are housing 20 homeless people relocated from Santa Ana River

Costa Mesa motels are housing 20 homeless people relocated from Santa Ana River
Nicholas Trullench, right, rides with others on an Orange County Transportation Authority bus from a homeless encampment along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim to a nearby motel last month after the county began clearing the camp. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

About 20 of the more than 700 people who recently moved from homeless encampments along the Santa Ana River are now staying in Costa Mesa motels, the city said this week.

“Staff, along with volunteers from the city’s Network for Homeless Solutions, are taking steps to immediately help these individuals and reduce any related impacts to Costa Mesa residents and businesses,” according to city spokesman Tony Dodero.

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The Network for Homeless Solutions is a collaborative effort among city staff, churches, nonprofits, private organizations and volunteers to identify and provide resources for the homeless.

The Costa Mesa motels where the people who left the riverbed are staying haven’t been publicly identified.

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Between Feb. 14 and 25, 697 people who formerly lived along an Anaheim section of the Santa Ana River moved into motels countywide, Orange County spokeswoman Jen Nentwig said Wednesday. An additional 35 went to shelters, she said.

Nentwig said the county is not disclosing specifically where those people went “to allow the county to find appropriate and safe locations to place the individuals ... as well as to protect the safety of the homeless individuals placed in the motels.”

The county provided motel vouchers as part of an emergency aid package approved by the Board of Supervisors last month. The vouchers are good for 30 days.

During that time, the county will complete an assessment of homeless people housed in the motels with the goal of pairing them with appropriate support services.

County officials moved to clear the Anaheim homeless encampments in January, but the effort was stymied by a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of seven homeless people.

In February, attorneys struck a deal to allow the camps to be dismantled and provide those living there with motel vouchers and other resources.

Officials finished clearing the camps this week.

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