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Homeless advocates protest lack of funding for housing in Orange County budget

Dozens of homeless people camp out at the Santa Ana Civic Center in Orange County, March 30, 2017. Advocates for the homeless want the county Board of Supervisors to create a special housing fund to help end homelessness.
Dozens of homeless people camp out at the Santa Ana Civic Center in Orange County, March 30, 2017. Advocates for the homeless want the county Board of Supervisors to create a special housing fund to help end homelessness.
Jill Replogle/KPCC

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The Orange County Board of Supervisors can expect to be greeted by protesters on Tuesday when it meets to discuss the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Advocates for the homeless says there’s no new money in the current proposal for housing.

Orange County adopted a 10-year plan to end homelessness in 2012. And yet, seven years later, homelessness is up — nearly 13 percent since 2013 — not down. Critics like Linda Lehnkering, who is part of the Anaheim Poverty Task Force, say that’s in part because the county hasn’t followed through with the plan’s recommendation to create a special fund dedicated to housing the homeless.

“While it has a nice plan, it hasn’t committed to date any of its own discretionary funding to fulfill," she said.

The vast majority of funds spent by Orange County to fight homelessness actually come from the state or federal government. And President Trump wants to cut much of the federal funding, including deep reductions to Section 8 housing vouchers and grants for states and local governments to build affordable housing.

Orange County Supervisors will discuss the draft budget and vote on proposed modifications. The final budget is scheduled to be approved on June 27.