Another 46 people died “without fixed abode” in OC in February 2022. Their names are:
Thomas MOSNOT who died on January 28th in Huntington Beach
Michael DAVIS who died on February 1st in Santa Ana
Greg MCCOMB who died on February 1st in Anaheim
Joshua SMITH who died on February 3rd in Tustin
Monserrat SANCHEZ TRUJILLO who died on February 3rd in Santa Ana
Rogelio CALDERON who died on February 3rd in Santa Ana
Robert HARSTAD who died on February 4th in Irvine
Richard YBARRA who died on February 4th in Huntington Beach
Vincent ALONZO who died on February 4th in Santa Ana
Mark ONEAL who died on February 5th in Laguna Hills
Angel ORTIZ who died on February 6th in Fullerton
Cruz SANCHEZ who died on February 6th in Anaheim
Seana MULDOWN who died on February 6th in Santa Ana
Ryan SALAZAR who died on February 6th in Orange
Laurentino MARTINEZ who died on February 6th in Santa Ana
Craig CARPENTER who died on February 6th in Anaheim
Miguel ORTEGA who died on February 6th in Santa Ana
Eduardo AREVALO who died on February 7th in Santa Ana
Christopher MARTIN who died on February 8th in Santa Ana
Kwan WINN who died on February 8th in Westminster
Rebecca MESA who died on February 8th in Huntington Beach
Jaime SANTOS who died on February 9th in Santa Ana
Ronald LOCKWOOD who died on February 11th in Anaheim
Hussein ALI who died on February 11th in Anaheim
Christopher DUFF who died on February 11th in Anaheim
Larry BELL who died on February 13th in La Habra
Joan LEATH who died on February 16th in Anaheim
Charles OHABOR who died on February 16th in Irvine
Berta GUIZA who died on February 16th in Santa Ana
Hoang NGUYEN who died on February 17th in Westminster
Amy EDWARDS who died on February 17th in Newport Beach
Rogelio REYES VALDOVINOS who died on February 18th in Anaheim
Austin COCKRILL who died on February 19th in Anaheim
William THOMPSON, JR. who died on February 19th in Fountain Valley
Rebecca POOCHIGIAN who died on February 21st in Anaheim
Alejandro PEREZ who died on February 21st in Santa Ana
Anthony DICKSON who died on February 22nd in Santa Ana
Noi SAYACHACK who died on February 24th in Santa Ana
Toni SETTLE who died on February 24th in Anaheim
Jose BARBA who died on February 25th in Costa Mesa
Sean THORNTON who died on February 26th in Santa Ana
Michael CAGGIANO who died on February 26th in Santa Ana
Sergio BARRIOS who died on February 26th in Anaheim
David HOXIE who died on February 26th in Santa Ana
Rodrigo OLVERA who died on February 26th in Orange
Christopher HODGES who died on February 27th in Garden Grove
Marcos RAMIREZ who died on February 27th in Orange
Just last month, in January, 46 people had died “without fixed abode” as well, then a record. February tied this new record, but with three less days than in January. In 2020 and 2021, the number that died in February was 20. So clearly we find ourselves in a crisis.
To be sure, the OC Sheriff’s Department has promised an investigation to look for opportunities to help bring down this increasing death toll (it has doubled over the past several years).
Let me offer a few ideas. Since it is no secret that quite a few of those who die “without fixed abode” die of drug overdoses, the County should immediately look into methadone programs to help control heroin addiction on the streets.
Since offering a robust methadone program while keeping thousands of people sleeping on the streets doesn’t make a great deal of sense, the County should once again look at quickly providing a roof over the heads of all of the county’s people finding themselves homeless.
This remains possible to do quickly by coordinating with the State and receiving assistance from both the State and the Federal government. This is literally what FEMA is for, and on the international level, the UN has run successful refugee camps and services in cooperation with and under the watchful eye of human rights organizations since the end of World War II. There is no reason why a quality program organized by FEMA in cooperation with and under the watchful eye of the ACLU could not be put up, and effectively run, literally in weeks.
Consider simply that in these past several weeks, the European Union was able to provide roofs over their heads for MILLIONS of refugees from Ukraine. Recognize here that the population of Slovakia is 5.4 million (in the ballpark of OC’s population of 3.3 million). From a standing start, Slovakia absorbed some 100K refugees in only a couple of weeks. Next door Poland with a population of 38.3 million (comparable to California’s) has been able to absorb approaching 2 million refugees. So “si, se puede” if only we came to approach our homelessness crisis with the urgency that it deserves.
This all said, I would also like to address our brothers and sisters who find themselves sleeping on our streets directly.
Please, you see the death tolls printed here every month. Yes, it would be wonderful if this County came to reflect the faiths that so many of its residents profess. And one can dream that with this new Sheriff’s Commission, progress will occur.
However, in the meantime, please, ON YOUR OWN, step away from drugs. Look, I do understand the pressures existing on the street that lead one to want to self-medicate. But do so with whiskey, not with drugs. We all know that Fentanyl is a killer but none of us know in what pill or drug bought on the street it would appear. Alcohol in contrast is regulated. Thus it is safer.
Honestly, it’s a matter of life and death. As we are reminded in this Season of Lent, Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy presented the Israelites this stark choice of Life and Death and asked them to choose Life. Please choose Life as well.
Help may come, or it may not, or certainly not in time. Please use your own agency to keep yourselves safe and above all alive for another day.
Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.
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