Orange County homelessness: Growing pains in creating emergency shelters and the search for long term solutions

Orange County’s homeless population has risen to 7,000 from from 4,500 two years ago.Anti-camping ordinances in the county mean they can get fined for sleeping in their cars on the street. But a federal court decision, which the Supreme Court let stand just this morning, says those anti-camping laws cannot be enforced if there aren’t enough shelters for people to use instead.

So county officials have been scrambling to turn old bus stations, motels, warehouses and other spaces into shelters. They’re basically constructing an Orange County shelter system from scratch.