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Santa Ana clears homeless camp from parking lot at El Centro cultural center

Santa Ana has shut down a homeless encampment that grew over the past year on the private grounds of El Centro Cultural de Mexico near the Civic Center.

The city executed an abatement warrant on Thursday, May 13, to remove the last of what had been as many as 75 tents, sleeping bags and tarp dwellings that the Mexican cultural center at 837 N. Ross St. had allowed homeless people to pitch in its parking lot since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Area residents were contacting city officials about trash, feces and discarded syringes in their neighborhood that they blamed on the people at the encampment. El Centro had said its goal was to provide a safe sleeping spot and help find shelter for the homeless people.

The city acted after the nonprofit organization failed to clear the property by an April 30 deadline in a settlement agreement, said Paul Eakins, spokesman for Santa Ana, on Friday.

Eakins added that outreach workers for the city routinely tried to help the homeless people get services, and that 17 people had accepted shelter during the 45-day settlement grace period. Advocates complained that the city had closed The Link temporary shelter, and that the beds on offer are miles away at the Fullerton Navigation Center.

Source: Orange County Register

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