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It seems many have various stereotypes and prejudices regarding the homeless in Anaheim and elsewhere, but what I have learned while living and ministering among the homeless for many years is that each has their own story and we can not put them all in one category.
They are not all drug users, alcohol abusers, or people who are not worth our time.
Case in point – Dennis is one individual who my heart goes out to, and my hope is that as he shares his story in this video – it will help to dispel various myths regarding this often misrepresented community.
Thankfully Dennis, who was disabled after being hit by a car, recently found a men’s home to get into (costing $500.00 a month) here in Anaheim.
Still there are many others who can not afford this who are still in need of shelter.
Recently I was told by a longtime friend, Patsy – a 60 year old homeless woman – that she as well as other homeless individuals who were trying to sleep in the park were given tickets in Maxwell Park for being there after hours.
At times officers have allowed them to sleep in the park, but now after the recent vote at city hall to allow for the increase of penalties for such violations it seems they have changed their tune.
The Anaheim City Attorney was recently given the power by the Anaheim City Council to make such violations into misdemeanors instead of infractions.
Will the City of Anaheim increase the penalty for sleeping in parks instead of actually providing some kind of shelter for those in need?
It appears this is the direction the city may be taking unfortunately since I have yet to see a vote for a tent city of some kind as others and I have already suggested at meeting after meeting at City Hall – see video.
Patsy is 60 years old and has trouble walking, and it seems to me the “City of Kindness” should be doing more than ticketing tired elderly homeless senior citizens if they truly want to be known for being kind.
What if in your Senior years you were on the street, or what if your Grandmother was on the street ?
Would this be the way you would want your Grandmother as well as your Senior self to be treated?
The command to, “Love your neighbor as yourself” is so often ignored it seems, but hopefully the day comes soon when Anaheim can truly put this into practice – and hopefully this day will be before El Nino arrives.
R. Joshua Collins is a homeless activist working throughout Orange County. He has a Facebook page, Homeless Advocates for Christ.