Thirty-one people died “without fixed abode” in Orange County in March 2022.  Their names are:

Brandon HEDSTRAND who died on March 3rd in Fountain Valley

Forrest THOMPSON who died on March 4th in Anaheim

Jessica JAMES who died on March 6th in Orange

Timothy NOTTINGHAM who died on March 7th in Costa Mesa

Joshua CAMPOS who died on March 7th in Orange

Juan ESCALONA who died on March 8th in Orange

Andy KHA who died on March 8th in Westminster

Lanette PARTAIN who died on March 9th in Anaheim

Stanley BEAR who died on March 9th in Placentia

Gerald COOPERIDER who died on March 9th in Santa Ana

Nixon AQUINO POLANCO who died on March 9th in Tustin

Aaron LEARNARD who died on March 10th in Garden Grove

Rogelio GARCIA RODRIGUEZ who died on March 10th in Newport Beach

Benjamin DARBY III who died on March 11th in Westminster

Michael EZEIR who died on March 12th in Costa Mesa

Seth STEWART who died on March 12th in Anaheim

Robert RAIRDONI who died on March 14th in Orange

Van NGUYEN who died on March 16th in Garden Grove

Creed MITCHELL who died on March 17th in Anaheim

Stephen YOURDON who died on March 18th in Orange

Nghiem LY who died on March 18th in Santa Ana

Jesus LOZANO GARCIA who died on March 19th in Dana Point

Max KRAKOFF who died on March 22nd in Anaheim

Daniel VALENZUELA who died on March 25th in Garden Grove

Jeffrey BUTLER who died on March 26th in Orange

Khamhou MOUNIVONG who died on March 27th in Anaheim

Sasha SIGANOFF who died on March 27th in Fullerton

Jose LOPEZ who died on March 28th in Fullerton

Robert TOBAR-RORIGUEZ who died on March 28th in Westminster

Donald YOAK who died on March 31st in Huntington Beach

Paul LORENSON who died on March 31st in Costa Mesa

Last year, 31 people (or one a day) died “without fixed abode” as well, making this the first month this year where the death toll at least wasn’t higher than the year previous.  Still, after three months, 123 people have died in this way on our streets, while last year at this time only 100 did so.  So the County remains solidly on a path toward yet another record year of deaths among its homeless. 

Closer to home, our Parish is reeling from being confronted by three cases that we had not seen much of before.

They involved, in the most desperate case, a mother with four children one disabled after being reduced to sleeping in their car, with the mother, of course, absolutely terrified that she’s going to lose her kids.  By the end of the week that family was on its way to getting placed in some temporary housing.

The second involves a couple, both working, with an adult dependent, all sleeping on and off in hotels or in their pickup truck struggling to get together enough money to make the proverbial first/last month’s rent and a security deposit to get back into an apartment.  Since this couple would need about $2000-3000 of help to meet that initial cost, this produced a quite interesting discussion among various members of the interfaith and homeless advocacy community, if it’d be worth it to seek to capitalize some sort of a bank or credit union that could provide mini-loans to people already working but struggling to put that initial sum together, and if there’d come to be a place in the County’s Coordinated Entry System for such a service to get people in this kind of situation off the streets. 

Here after a week and a half, and several Congregations paying each for a couple of nights of hotel rooms, we’ve had the challenge of getting this couple reinstated in the County’s CES as both persons do work and could only meet with the outreach people on their lunch hour.   To note, one way or another, this case is going to be solved.  The question is what can we all do to solve the situation of the many people who are in situations just like them, or, honestly worse than theirs – here both people were healthy, though they had a dependent that is not – what of those people who aren’t healthy? 

Finally, we’ve been confronted with an elderly person with medical issues facing the loss of that person’s apartment where that person has lived for 20 years because that person’s SSI simply no longer came close to covering the rent.  After several years of being helped by friends, that line of assistance was coming to an end, and reading the person’s doctor’s note that due to vision and hearing problems this person is simply going to have to receive assistance in filling out forms and that those forms should be at a minimum in LARGE FONT in order that the person would be able to read them, honestly, one wants to cry, and frankly, many of us did, as we struggled to see how we could help.

It honestly takes a village.   And thanks for listening.

Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.

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