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Anaheim Hosts Massive Outreach Event For Santa Ana River's Homeless Population

ANAHEIM (CBSLA) – Dozens of agencies and nonprofit groups came together Tuesday to provide assistance to hundreds of homeless people who are being cleared from encampments along the Santa Ana River.

Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., 29 agencies and nonprofits were working together to provide services such as transitional housing, emergency shelter beds, drug treatment, vaccines, food, pet services and food to homeless people who have been living on the Santa Ana River Trail in Anaheim.

The purpose of Tuesday's outreach is "to help as many people as possible off the river trail as part of efforts to phase out encampments along the flood control channel," the city of Anaheim said in a news release.

The homeless crisis in Orange County came to the forefront in September, when the Anaheim City Council declared a state of emergency for the more than 400 people who have been living in a tent city in the shadow of Angel Stadium. On Dec. 5, the council authorized spending up to $100,000 for Tuesday's outreach.

Also in September, the Santa Ana City Council also declared the homeless issue around the Santa Ana Civic Center a public health and safety crisis, while the O.C. Board of Supervisors approved a plan to increase law enforcement along the riverbed from Santa Ana to Anaheim.

In November, O.C. permanently closed the west side of the flood control channel between Santa Ana and Fountain Valley, and sheriff's deputies began to clear the encampments. Deputies have been strictly enforcing public access hours along the Santa Ana River Trail. Access is only allowed between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

During the clearing process, authorities reportedly found about 1,000 bikes hidden in a tunnel system under a concrete flood control channel.

Some of agencies taking part in Tuesday's effort include the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the Salvation Army, the Orange County Rescue Mission and the Orange County Health Care Agency.

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