By Shawn Raymundo

In a surprise turn of events Thursday, Jan. 23, the city of Santa Ana voluntarily moved to dismiss its homelessness-related lawsuit against the cities of Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

The move comes less than two weeks after Santa Ana filed its complaint in federal court, accusing the South County cities of opposing and refusing to build their own shelters. The suit also claimed that the municipalities relied heavily on the Orange County Armory Emergency Shelter Program at the National Guard Armory in Santa Ana to take on the homeless.

In a joint press release sent out Friday morning, the cities of San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point said it was pleased to learn about the dismissal, noting that each of the three cities “dedicated significant funding to helping people experiencing homelessness.”

“The claims made in this case were legally and factually baseless, and Santa Ana’s action today will avoid further unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer dollars and instead allow the three South County cities to focus their limited resources on actual issues associated with homelessness,” the press release stated.

The cities also stated that it will continue to work collaboratively with the County of Orange, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and other local stakeholders such as nonprofits to come up with “long-term and balanced solutions.”

The county of Orange was also named in Santa Ana’s Jan. 13 complaint. Court records indicate that the lawsuit against the county still stands.

The City of Santa Ana could not be reached for comment as of this posting.

This is a developing story.

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