Three homeless individuals are suing Orange County, CA for systematically crafting a welfare system that unfairly discourages applications and cheats qualified indigent people from receiving proper financial and medical assistance.
That's according to an 18-page class action lawsuit that blasts the all-Republican Orange County Board of Supervisors and the Social Services Agency for its alleged bad faith execution of duties to administer an aide program that is considered vital to the local indigent.
"[Orange County has] systematically and unlawfully denied or discouraged persons who are otherwise eligible for [welfare] relief or from obtaining relief in a prompt and humane manner," wrote lawyers Stephanie E. Haffner of the Western Center on Law & Poverty in Los Angeles and Stephen Ronfeldt of The Public Interest Law Project in Oakland on behalf of the abused indigent.
The lawsuit also alleges that Orange County routinely terminates valid assistance prematurely and has routinely cheated recipients out of $38 a month.
County officials have also been demanding that the homeless show income tax returns before receiving assistance.
We all know that when you're living on the streets and have no job or income, it's a top priority to carry around a neat, clean file folder containing old IRS forms.
In August 2011, lawyers for the plaintiffs confronted local officials and threatened a lawsuit if they failed to correct their policies.
The current plaintiff's court filing claims that a negotiated settlement has been reached and, when it is filed at a future date, and hopes that state Superior Court Judge Nancy Wieben Stock will approve the terms that grants retroactive relief to those who the county cheated.
The homeless individuals named in the lawsuit are Edwin Mankinen, Sharie Laturno and George Lettner.
Several years ago, OC supervisors voted to give $100,000 tax breaks to the local, wealthy real estate developers who fund their campaigns, take them on trips and pay for their dinners.
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Under state law, relief for a single, qualified homeless person is supposed to be $317 a month, but OC supervisors refuse to pay more than $239 in cash plus $40 in in-kind medical assistance.
The chairman of the county's board of supervisors is John Moorlach, a self-styled Christian conservative Republican from Costa Mesa.
(rscottmoxley at ocweekly dot com)