By Eric Heinz 

After months of compiling data from volunteers and homeless assistance organizations, the Point in Time Study, which takes a census of the homeless population in Orange County, has been released. The study shows that Orange County’s homeless population has risen 7.6 percent from 2015 to 2017, a total of 4,792 homeless people counted. The census was conducted in January. The study also showed an increase of about 300 of unsheltered homeless people.

The studies across the county are compiled by 2-1-1 Orange County, a private, nonprofit organization.

During the Sept. 5 City Council meeting, Anthony LaFrano, a concerned resident of San Clemente, continued his campaign of keeping Avenida Pico clean. In the canyons along the north side of the street, many homeless people have camped out in the area, as evidenced by discarded mattresses, bicycles and many other items.

City officials said San Clemente’s chronic homeless population is about 70 permanent, but that’s just the ones they found. The survey did not take into account transient or temporary homeless people.

City Council passed the 2013-2021 housing element at the Sept. 5 meeting, which designates an overlay at Rancho San Clemente Business Park for an emergency or homeless shelter, as required by state law. The city has been trying to get its housing element up to par with the state’s requirements in order to have an injunction on permitting in certain areas of the city, after a lawsuit found the city was out of compliance. A hearing about the injunction was scheduled for Sept. 8, but City Attorney Scott Smith told San Clemente Times that hearing is likely to be continued to November.

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