Don Dormeyer is a the webmaster of CanyonBiz.com and a local business owner who opposes a homeless shelter in Anaheim Canyon’s “Center for Advanced Technology” as the worse possible location.
The Canyon Business Association, a new organization that has sprung up in the Anaheim “Canyon Center for Advanced Technology” is growing rapidly due to concerns that a large 200 bed homeless shelter will effect their industrial park.
There are well over 1000 businesses that vehemently feel they will be damaged. The group is a common voice to protect what they feel is an assault on their ability to thrive.
Thriving is important to them because Anaheim Planning’s stated vision in the “Anaheim Canyon Specific Plan” called for “an engaging, innovative, and dynamic business environment that provides opportunities for growth, development, and sustained success supported by clear policies and regulations.”
That is the Anaheim “Canyon Specific Plan” that these businesses invested in.
What part of “advanced technology” is a huge homeless shelter?
It seems the Mayor and City Council have abandoned that commitment or failed to mention it to the County Supervisors who are buying an industrial building at an entrance to the Center for Advanced Technology for a 200 bed homeless shelter that is clearly in the WRONG place. Actually in the worse possible place! A place that has almost no homeless at all because it is an industrial park.
The “Canyon Center for Advanced Technology” is rapidly moving toward what the name aspires to be.
New class A buildings have gone up, and more are coming. New businesses, attracting National and International clients to Anaheim have arrived. Aerospace has returned. The utilities are currently being under-grounded and new sidewalks and bike lanes are planned. All according to Anaheim’s “vision” for the Canyon Center for Advanced Technology. The Canyon will be a beautiful place for advanced technology and high paying jobs.
Why derail that?
If each business in the Canyon hired a new employee next year that would be thousands of new tech jobs for Anaheim and Orange County. Companies attracted to move to the Canyon will add untold additional jobs
Locating a huge homeless shelter at the entrance to the “Center for Advanced Technology” seems counterproductive and particularly “unkind” to the taxpaying businesses and the thousands of taxpaying employees. It damages the area’s ability to add thousands of new taxpaying jobs and help Anaheim’s economy.
Most infuriating, it is a county facility. So other cities that don’t want the homeless will able to export them to Anaheim. Who would vote for that idea?
Residents of the adjoining area of Orange got together to fight what they feel will damage their residential neighborhoods. The 1,000+ businesses in the Canyon had no organization to speak for them, but an organization quickly formed due to huge opposition to the proposed shelter location. “Every business I talked to, 100 percent were adamantly against this” said one organizer.
On its website, CanyonBiz.com there is support for other homeless solutions and other better locations. Taxpayers seeking better employment need jobs, and damaging an industrial area that can grow better jobs is foolish. What are our politicians thinking? Industrial areas are for industry. And “Advanced Technology” means higher paying jobs.
Homelessness is a community problem and putting the homeless in a giant box is a bad, and particularly “unkind” solution. Out-of-sight-out-of-mind is NOT a solution. Just moving them “somewhere else” is not kind nor helpful nor effective.
The business association doesn’t claim to have the answer but businesses depend on solutions and when one solution hasn’t worked, they try another.
Step four in LA’s Union Rescue Mission’s plan to end homelessness calls for small community shelters where the homeless already live. Removing the concentration effect that causes the “not in my neighborhood” political blowback, because the homeless are already there. The Union Mission should know because they have 100 plus years of hindsight, and the L.A. Skid Row area has grown to 54 blocks of crime and anarchy. L.A. Skid Row is getting 1,500 new homeless per year. (See Canyonbiz.com for sources.)
Big shelters are not working. Ask anyone operating one. Housing First is having success with individualized solutions in Utah. Their results are worth watching.
Another alternative is small distributed shelters.
Small is better because small shelters do not mix the vulnerable with the aggressive, the desperately unemployed with the criminally intent. Those fighting addiction with those embracing addition. The good with the bad.
Small shelters distributed where the homeless already live can separate the opposites and bring the most important ingredient of “HOPE” while not increasing the “homeless” in any one neighborhood.
Or, if the Anaheim City Council is intent on bringing Orange County’s homeless to a big box in Anaheim, there are better, more suitable, and cheaper locations.
The city has already purchased land for a shelter on Carl Karcher Way. (An appropriate street name for a genuinely helpful solution) The utilities are in place. Using modern architecturally attractive modular buildings the shelter could be open in months at far less cost. The millions of dollars saved could be used for needed treatment and education services.
The City of Anaheim created the visionary Canyon Specific Plan for the Canyon “Center for Advanced Technology” and it is succeeding. Why damage it when better cheaper sites are available.
And when the solution to homelessness is actually found, or conditions causing it change, the property could be returned to salable condition in a matter of weeks.
Importing other cities’ homeless to Anaheim’s newest thriving business area at the Canyon, is not the answer to homelessness.
Let the Canyon become all it can be, and ALL of Anaheim and Orange County will benefit from it.
Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue please contact Voice of OC Engagement Editor Julie Gallego at firstname.lastname@example.org.