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ACLU Sues Orange County For ‘Horrific’ Conditions At Homeless Shelters 

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A photo sent to the ACLU of Southern California shows flooding from rain at The Courtyard in Santa Ana. (Courtesy: ACLU of Southern California)
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The ACLU Foundation of Southern California filed a lawsuit Thursday in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of residents at three emergency shelters: The Courtyard in Santa Ana as well as Bridges at Kraemer Place and La Mesa in Anaheim.

In the lawsuit, several former residents of the facilities say they were subject to repeated sexual harassment, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, and lock-in policies that restricted their freedom of movement.

The ACLU of Southern California published allegations of inhumane conditions at the facilities last year, after a year-long investigation. The organization’s senior policy analyst, Eve Garrow, said she hopes this week’s lawsuit lifts the veil on shelter conditions that are mostly out of public view.

“People are forced and coerced to be in these shelters,” she said. “Nobody should have to give up their human and civil rights in order to have a roof over their head at nighttime.”

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The lawsuit names Orange County, which provides funding for two of the shelters, and the city of Anaheim, which funds La Mesa. It also names the nonprofits that actually operate the shelters, Midnight Mission, Mercy House Living Centers, and Illumination Foundation.

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