797 Unsheltered Homeless in Anaheim Alone Report Says

A homeless encampment across the Santa Ana River from Anaheim on a stormy day.

When Orange County’s first year-round homeless shelter opens in Anaheim next month, it will have an initial capacity of 100 beds.

But even at its full capacity of 200 beds, with 400 more beds available at a temporary emergency shelter in Santa Ana, the county can’t shelter the homeless in just Anaheim.

A census conducted by the nonprofit CityNet found 906 homeless adults in Orange County’s largest city, 797 of them unsheltered.

Matt Bates, vice president of CityNet, told the City Council Tuesday that shelter provides stability, allowing people to move past worrying about basic needs.

“Even an emergency shelter is a quantum leap ahead…just because they’re not worried about food, clothing and safety, so now they can work with case management on a long-term plan,” Bates said.

The county’s 10-year plan to end homelessness says that there are 66 shelters with 3,400 beds countywide. But estimates put the county’s homeless population at more than 15,000.

Many of the existing beds are reserved for families with children, women with children, single women or other especially vulnerable individuals.

Opening the Anaheim year-round shelter will be a major milestone for the county. Until the Santa Ana shelter opened last fall, the homeless had gone without access to a public shelter during hot summer months. National guard armories are open during winter nights to provide a dry place to sleep when it rains and escape the cold of the streets.

The CityNet count in Anaheim was conducted in November and December 2016.

More than 100 volunteers visited sites all over the city, from public parks to residential communities, to count and interview homeless individuals.

The results offer a glimpse into the lives of the hundreds of homeless people who call the streets of Anaheim home.

Of the 797 unsheltered adults, a disproportionate number are middle-aged white men. Thirty two percent of those living without shelter were in their 50s, 58 percent were white and 71 percent were men.

Nearly a third do not have a high school degree, and a tenth have been homeless for more than ten years.

More than a third – 37 percent – have a disability and/or mental illness, and 61 percent struggle with some type of substance abuse.

By contrast, most of the 109 homeless people living in shelters are women and people who have been homeless for less than two years.

With an unusually long and wet rainy season hitting California, public officials countywide have been under increased pressure from residents to approach homelessness with greater urgency.

In Anaheim, activists have attended every city council meeting for the past few months to call on council members to repeal or impose a moratorium on the city’s anti-camping law, which fines and confiscates the belongings of homeless people who camp in public spaces overnight, until the city and county are able to provide adequate shelter.

The CityNet report underscored the importance of shelter, finding a number of major differences between unsheltered and sheltered homeless individuals.

Homeless people in shelters were far more likely to have insurance (93 percent compared to 63 percent among unsheltered homeless) and use benefits like CalFresh (63 percent compared to 44 percent).

Sheltered individuals with some source of income equaled 78 percent compared to just 34 percent of homeless people without shelter.

Sheltered individuals also had higher levels of education, with 53 percent having some kind of vocational or college education.

Attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, who are also asking the city to suspend its anti-camping ordinance, told the council Tuesday that the ordinance exacerbated their homeless clients’ instability by confiscating important belongings like identification, medication and cell phones.

For example, the attorneys cited a client who had identification and food stamp cards confiscated with other belongings, and did not have steady access to food until they were able to arrange for transportation to pick up their belongings, an opportunity that is only available once a week.

“There has never been a case where any of our clients retrieved all of their confiscated belongings,” said attorney David Mangikyan.

Many shelters focus exclusively on women with children and families or have income or sobriety requirements, making it especially difficult for single men and people who struggle with substance abuse to find shelter.

Brad Fieldhouse, president of CityNet, added that for the 61 percent of unsheltered people who admitted to some type of substance abuse, the psychological tolls of addiction can be an added barrier to accepting help.

“You lose hope when you do things that aren’t who you want to be, and it takes over your life and the next thing you know it’s one year, two years, three years,” said Fieldhouse.

The full report is available on the city of Anaheim website.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • David Zenger

    So…when the Kraemer Place Shelter (where the denizens must be bused in) is at 100% capacity it can only accommodate 25% of just Anaheim’s homeless population.

    And our Board of Supervisors thinks this is $10,000,000 well-spent.

  • Jasenn

    Referring to a home for homeless people as a “shelter” carries a stigma. Why can’t government and private funding organizations refer to these places as homes for previously homeless people? In order to maximize the therapeutic benefit of any home for homeless people it needs educational, psychological, and career guidance services, along with a contingency management program to distribute living expenses. At first glance this will capture resistance as “too much.” However, sound, world wide research establishes that such a program not only cures current homeless problems, but prevents future homeless, and creates responsible community members at about half the cost of current social and police services employed for the homeless.

    • justanon

      Obama cut the homeless veteran population in half by doing just that, providing subsidized housing and coordinating services with the VA.

      • LFOldTimer

        Obama ruined VA health care. Vets were dying while they waited to see a doctor. It was a huge scandal. Funny how you’re so selective in reporting the news. 🙂

        • justanon

          The problems with the VA stemmed from a Republican war that created thousands of more veterans and a republican congress that refused to increase VA funding … a recipe for disaster!

          • LFOldTimer

            You live in great denial.

            The VA Secretary was appointed by OBAMA.

            VA health care was run by the OBAMA administration.

            Vets were DYING because they couldn’t see a doctor!!!!


            Your finger pointing is laughable. Don’t be a board clown.

          • justanon

            It was GW Bush’s WARS that created thousands of new vets, but when it came to increasing the VA’s budget Republicans voted it down!

            GOP blocks veterans bill

            “Senate Republicans stopped Democrats from advancing a bill that would have expanded healthcare and education programs for veterans.

            In a 56-41 vote Thursday, the motion to waive a budget point of order against the bill failed, as Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome the Republican roadblock.

            GOP Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) voted with Democrats.”


            More Republican slashing of money for veterans:

            “Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the 2016 Veterans Affairs funding bill, and slashed more than $1.4 billion from the president’s requested budget for America’s Veterans. Today, VA Secretary Bob McDonald appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss that budget proposal.”



          • LFOldTimer

            You’re not hurting my feelings by trashing GW Bush. I couldn’t stand the weasel.

            You see, I’m not a political party harlot who just roots for the home team. I actually use my brain to form opinions! lol.

          • justanon

            But I bet you voted for him … twice.

          • LFOldTimer

            And you’d be wrong.


          • justanon

            Yep, that’s what ALL the GW Bush supporters say, lol!

          • verifiedsane

            Diaper boy goes Whaa-Whaa-Whaa

          • justanon

            More on GW Bush and veterans:

            “Paul Sullivan, the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a veterans’ advocacy group that sued the VA in federal court, said attempts by the White House to portray Bush as an advocate for veterans is beyond shameful.

            “Bush is the worst failure for our veterans since Hoover,” Sullivan said, expressing shock that the President “would shamefully continue his legacy of lies to the American people as he and his political cronies are forced to leave office on Jan. 20.”

            Sullivan disputed some of Bush’s claims as misleading, such as the assertion that he doubled funding for the VA. “However, President Bush failed to disclose that the number of veterans seeking VA healthcare doubled, from 2.7 million to 5.5 million, and that rising healthcare inflation actually resulted in a net decrease in spending per veteran by VA during the past eight years,” he said.

            “If not for the intervention of Congress to substantially increase VA funding beyond Bush’s inadequate budget requests, especially in the past two years, the situation would have deteriorated from a serious crisis to a catastrophe at VA.”


          • LFOldTimer

            And, of course, you failed to respond my facts that Obama’s VA Secretary was fired after VAGate happened, specifically dozens of vets dying because they had to wait months in line to see a doctor.

            You aren’t even worth my time on these boards.

          • justanon

            Typical conservative, “it’s all Obama’s fault”. The problems with the VA pre-dated Obama, an inspector general’s report from 2007 had plenty of reports about VA schedulars “cooking the books” all over the country. And in truth wait times did grow under Obama because he expanded coverage for PTSD and Agent Orange cases, but at least Obama tried to FIX the problems. UNLIKE CONSERVATIVES who’ll say they’re fixing the problem, give it a sympathetic name and then SCREW THE H*LL out of whoever needs help.

            Yeah, just look at what trump and the republicans tried to pull on their supporters with healthcare, a complete bait-and-switch, lol.

            When will you chumps ever learn?

            Republicans don’t care about “average americans” they just USE them to get in power and then use that power to give big tax cuts to the wealthy, ha, ha, ha!!!

          • LFOldTimer

            You’ll never admit anything.

            I’m done with you.

  • Yvonne Hatch

    What a shame! ! This is the USA &we can’t even help our own citizens but somehow the State of California welcomes in illegal aliens from South of the border & feeds them , educates their children , gives them subsidized housing. ..along with free medical at our ER s…This is America !!….We need to get rid of Jerry Brown & all the GD Democrats who run this state…& elect officials who put Americans first..! !….

    • LFOldTimer

      You make perfect sense, Yvonne.

      But it’s a two-way road. I have no problem with providing some initial assistance to the homeless to make them productive citizens – but as part of the agreement the homeless need to come halfway and do their part to clean up their own lives.

      It’s atrocious that the government bends over backwards to help illegals (even defying the Law of the Land to do so) yet turn their noses up at our citizens and veterans who have no place to live. I agree.

      But it’s a one-shot deal. Help them one time – and if the homeless refuse to honor their part of the deal to improve their own lives – I have no sympathy.

      Those with severe mental illness need treatment and some extra help.

      The liberal electeds are phonies. They don’t offer solutions. They only create more problems. But all of them talk a real good game (like Jerry Brown). Wolves in sheep clothing.

      • justanon

        “The liberal electeds are phonies. They don’t offer solutions. ”

        As opposed to what …. the rethuglicans??? Ha, ha, ha!

        All you conservatives know how to do is TEAR DOWN!

        Democrats are the only ones who CARE enough about people to actually take the time to craft legislation and programs that try and help people.

        Look no further than the healthcare debacle, trump and the republican’s didn’t give a sh*t how many people got thrown off their insurance plan or how cr*ppy the insurance would be as long as rich people got a huge tax break. They spent very little time crafting it and paid little attention to detail.

        Anyone who thinks conservatives can govern or will offer solutions is just a first-class chump!

        • LFOldTimer

          Democrats have only made people dependent on government and turned them into little slaves who are easily controlled. You haven’t helped them. You’ve hurt them for political gain and put society much deeper in debt as a result. What good has LBJ’s Great Society done for the black population? Go drive though South Chicago next time you visit the Windy City. Over 800 murders last year. Now the Democrats are doing the same thing to poor Hispanics. Using them for cheap labor and political gain. Shameful. The Democrats are modern day plantation owners.

          • justanon

            Yeah, making sure people have good insurance is really ‘creating dependancy’ only fools believe that BS!

            Healthcare is a human right!

          • LFOldTimer

            Good insurance? HA!

            You mean the insurance where we could keep our plans and our doctors? HA.

            Or the insurance where the average family would save $2500 a year?? HA!

            Or do you mean the good FREE insurance that 12 million Californians (to include illegal aliens) have under MediCal??

            Is that the “good insurance” you’re referring to??? HA!

          • justanon

            Too bad there are so many gullible chumps like you in this country, that believed the right-wing smear campaign against the ACA.

            The truth is nobody “lost” their health insurance under the ACA, but a few people had to switch providers and had to change their doctor. That was a MINOR INCONVENIENCE for a relatively few people as opposed to trumpcare where 24 million people would’ve lost their healthcare on top of having to pay more.

            As for costs, the ACA has been good for healthcare costs:

            “New benefits baked into ACA-compliant plans give consumers more for their money; Silver plans cover 17 percent more health expenses than the average plan prior to the ACA, according to the analysis.

            Even with rates set to skyrocket in some markets for 2017, researchers estimate that things would be much worse without the ACA. In fact, rates would have to rise by “more than 44 percent in 2017 to approach where individual market premiums would have likely been in the absence of the ACA, even under conservative assumptions,” the researchers write.

            And, they’re reasonably optimistic that future years will see a return to more modest increases.”

            Source: https://www.healthinsurance.org/blog/2016/07/29/health-premiums-after-obamacare-theyre-lower/

            Could the ACA be better, of course it could, but the Republicans have REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING TO FIX IT. They have ONLY voted for repeal because they DON’T REALLY GIVE A GOOD GOD D*AMN ABOUT HEALTHCARE and how it affects people ALL THEY CARE ABOUT ARE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY!

            And stupid, bitter, small-minded a-holes like yourself, are willing to let them gut healthcare, even their own, if they can inflict pain on someone less fortunate than themselves.

            But the JOKE WAS ON YOU, as you got NOTHING! That POS trump made a bunch of simplistic promises and his simpleton base swallowed it hook, line and sinker, ha, ha, ha.

            ‘trumpcare’ was really … go f*ck yourself care!!! LOL!

          • LFOldTimer

            ObamaCare is a wounded duck. It’s on life support in several states. Health insurance companies are pulling out because they can’t afford to take care of all the illegal aliens and freeloaders.

            Trump is in the cat bird seat. Now all he has to do is WAIT for ObamaCare to collapse then blame the Democrats for being obstructionists and refusing to negotiate an ObamaCare replacement.

            It was not Trumpcare. Trump has only been in office for 65 days. It’s on Paul Ryan who’s just another RINO anyway.

            ObamaCare is a proven failure. Obama LIED to the country about what ObamaCare would give us. He LIED repeatedly. Everyone knows that. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

            I agree with Trump. Do nothing. Then let ObamaCare collapse. Then blame the democraps!!


          • justanon

            Yeah, the republicans can make the ACA collapse, they can cut the taxes that support it and confuse people about its availability and generally mess with it, but WHAT KIND OF SICK F*CKS WOULD WANT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE TO LOSE THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE??????

            I guess a sick, despicable f*ck like YOU!!!

            You should be ashamed, but you’re too evil and twisted for that.

          • LFOldTimer


            So now you’re a potty mouth too, eh? No surprise.

            The GOP doesn’t have to lift a finger. ObozoCare is in a tailspin and nosedive. Stand by for the implosion!

            Mayday…..Mayday!!!! HA!

          • justanon

            Like I said, too evil and twisted to be ashamed of wanting millions of people to lose their health care.

            You Cult45er’s are sick bunch!

          • verifiedsane

            I see Diaper boy is back with more of the same nonsensical far left propaganda as usual….All Diaper Boy has is their socialist party’s documented failure and some name calling to add to the conversation…if Diaper Boy wasn’t so pathetically ignorant and close minded; they would be providing us with some absolutely hilarious comedic reading…

    • Colchester Creek

      With respect, whether you arrived last century or last week is immaterial – immigration neither causes nor affects homelessness. It’s not immigrants who deny the homeless the right to rest, or the right to access clean water. The problem is a lack of affordable housing that private industry has no desire to build (due to lack of excessive profit) and the county and the housing authorities lack the political and moral will to step in and fill the void. Until they do the problem will only worsen. Only housing cures homelessness.

      • verifiedsane

        Illegal immigration draws heavily upon our limited public resources; so yes illegal immigration has a profound effect on homelessness and greater American society as a whole…from the jobs they steal…to the many public resources they exploit…and of course shall we mention the laws they have already broken…your naive’ and poorly executed argument leaves you floundering up the CREEK without a single paddle… 🙂

        • Colchester Creek

          Always interesting when those who arrived without the permission of the first residents set themselves up as arbiters as who or what is illegal. Wonder who gave the Pilgrims their green cards ? Oh well…

  • Bob Brock

    If Anaheim lifts their anti-camping ordinance, every city in central OC will whisper in the ears of their homeless population that Anaheim parks are “welcoming” to the homeless. I do feel bad for the Anaheim taxpayers who would probably like to use their parks for recreation when they find that the homeless have turned them into permanent campgrounds.

    • LFOldTimer

      Bob, where are the homeless supposed to go so they’re out of the line of sight of the public?

      We can discuss who’s to blame. Some will exclusively blame the homeless. Some will exclusively blame the system. And some will blame a combination of the two.

      But that doesn’t solve anything.

      Until we discuss viable solutions (other than raising taxes on the masses) to FIX the problem all it does is result in arguments and hurt feelings while the problem continues to grow.

      Let’s talk about solutions. The anti-camping ordinance is NO solution. It just spreads the problem elsewhere or punishes people who have no place to live.

  • LFOldTimer

    797 homeless in Anaheim is a drop in the bucket compared to what you’ll see a few years down the road when the RE value bubble finally pops. RE is a huge percent of the economy. You might even see your neighbors living in Walmart pup tents in the park. For the grace of God go you!

    Anaheim’s Mayor Tait recently participated in a rally for illegal aliens w/ LA Mayor Garcetti. So he supports protecting illegal aliens, thus attracting more to his city like a magnet – who take jobs from citizens and drive up the cost of rents. Then he acts like he’s a crusader for the homeless when he’s actually a catalyst for more homelessness. But his home team refuses to acknowledge the obvious.

    Until you open your eyes and understand the REAL causes of homelessness and FIX THEM you’re just throwing a pot of water on a wildfire. You’re spinning your wheels.

    Los Angeles just imposed a quarter cent sales tax on their residents to allegedly ‘solve’ the homelessness problem. It’ll probably get siphoned off to shore up the public pension debt (unfunded liability) like other unrelated fees and taxes have gone. And it’s coming to a theater near you too. Wait for it.

    This is a problem that’s going to grow exponentially until the people acknowledge that the root causes (mental illness, illegal immigration, perpetually low interest rates in a heated-up economy (thank the Fed for that), low wage jobs that can’t sustain a high cost of living, the creation of low wage service jobs as opposed to quality jobs that pay a living wage, etc….need to be addressed and FIXED!!!

    • Colchester Creek

      Actually Measure H can’t ‘solve anything, but it will indeed provide the wraparound services to support the promise of HHH. But you’re right – homelessness won’t be ended until we fix the political economy to meet the needs of the many and not just the few

  • Linda May

    Shelters that have empty beds while there are so many homeless should be shut down. They are not serving their mission. They need to figure out a way to not let rules get in the way of their mission.