The Latest: US judge tours California homeless encampment

February 14, 2018

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2018 file photo, signs warning homeless residents they'll need to move out of a two-mile long encampment are posted in Anaheim, Calif. A long-running dispute over a Southern California county's plans to shut down the massive homeless encampment faces a key day in court. Homeless residents and their advocates are expected to argue in U.S. court Tuesday, Feb. 13, that Orange County can't remove them from a riverbed bike trail without adequate housing options. Officials say they've offered shelter beds and housing. The lawsuit is being watched by homeless advocates nationwide amid a rise in encampments. (AP Photo/Amy Taxin, File)

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a lawsuit over efforts to shut down a Southern California homeless encampment (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

A federal judge has been touring a Southern California homeless encampment that officials are working to shut down.

Judge David O. Carter took a brisk walk at dawn Wednesday past scores of tents surrounded by trash. He was followed by an entourage of three dozen lawyers, Orange County workers, nonprofit staff and local officials.

Carter grilled officials about how to remove syringes littered on the ground, lack of access to bathrooms for the homeless and who is and isn’t willing to move to motel rooms the county will offer as the encampment is shut down.

He also stopped and spoke with homeless residents, asking what they needed to be able to move from the camp on a trail alongside a riverbed.

Carter is overseeing a lawsuit filed by homeless advocates over the planned closure of the encampment on the county-owned trail.

The suit claims tent dwellers were driven there by crackdowns on the homeless in nearby cities.


11:15 p.m.

Working at the demand of a federal judge, public officials and homeless advocates have reached an agreement providing motel rooms and other shelter for homeless people who are being kicked out of an encampment in a Southern California riverbed.

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter has boldly stepped into the process of the eviction, and plans to visit the encampment on Wednesday morning.

Experts say the case could have broad influence for how cities and counties handle their homeless problem.

On Tuesday, Carter insisted the two sides in his courtroom get together for several hours and find a solution.

When they emerged, Orange County officials said they would use motels and other means to get 700 to 800 beds for the homeless driven from the encampment in Anaheim.

Update hourly