Who Becomes Homeless? Data Paints a Startling Picture


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Many homeless advocates say misperceptions of who the homeless are and why they are homeless have led to an impasse on how to solve the problem. Photo: iStock

As Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer rose to the podium, the audience broke out into applause.

The day before, on March 19, the Orange County Board of Supervisors had approved a plan to create temporary homeless shelters in the cities of Irvine, Huntington Beach and Laguna Niguel as a way to address the area’s growing homeless population, which last year stood at nearly 5,000, according to the county’s annual point-in-time count.

As the sole “no” vote on the board, Spitzer, who is also running for district attorney, took his case directly to Orange County residents, urging them to reject the county’s plan.