Hear directly from residents of Orange County's emergency homeless shelters
None of the shelter residents we spoke with received meaningful assistance or the case management that is promised to residents. Instead, they described shelter staff as untrained, abusive, and neglectful.
Hear Michelle, Gina, Michael and Igmar speak about their experiences with shelter staff:
Gina is a resident at SAFEPlace, a women-only shelter for survivors of domestic violence. Despite the shelter’s name and purpose, she is sexually harassed by shelter staff.
Hear Gina speak about her experience at SAFEPlace:
At The Courtyard, where Michael was a resident for several months, a guard threw him to the ground as he rushed to his bunk to take his seizure medication. Igmar Rodas witnessed shelter staff pull mattresses out from under a resident with a bad back.
Hear Michael and Igmar speak about physical mistreatment in The Courtyard:
Conditions in the shelters are inhumane, unsafe, and unsanitary. Residents are exposed to rain, flooding, infestations, and raw sewage. Shelters lack temperature control, soap, and other cleaning products. These conditions turn the shelters into breeding grounds for communicable diseases and put residents at risk.
Warning: graphic images below
Hear Michelle, Igmar, and Gina speak about conditions at Anaheim Way, The Courtyard, and SAFEPlace:
SUPPRESSION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Igmar's stay at The Courtyard was brief. He wrote about his experiences for the Voice of OC and was "exited" — forced to leave — and prohibited from entering the shelter once the article was published.
Gina is a pseudonym. She asked us not to publish her name because she fears retaliation from shelter staff — something she has witnessed many times during her stay at SAFEPlace.
Hear Igmar and Gina speak about the retaliation they have experienced and witnessed, and living in fear of being "exited":
After a year-long investigation, the ACLU SoCal released a comprehensive report, 'This Place is Slowly Killing Me:' Abuse and Neglect in Orange County Emergency Shelters, compiled through first-person visits and more than 70 interviews with residents, staff members, and shelter volunteers at three facilities — the Courtyard Transitional Center and SAFEPlace in Santa Ana, and Bridges at Kraemer Place in Anaheim.
Contact us to report conditions, issues, and/or retaliation in the wake of the publication of our report:
- Call 714-221-2788
- Send us a message online
Report sexual abuse in homeless shelters:
- Call 714-221-2786
- Send us a message online
The ACLU SoCal has sent letters to the follow government agencies calling for immediate reform:
- California Attorney General
- California Department of Housing and Community Development
- California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
- Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council