Another 41 people died without fixed abode in Orange County in May 2022. Their names were:
Dwain HIBDON who died on May 1st in Buena Park
Javier RIOS who died on May 2nd in Tustin
Anthony PIERCE who died on May 2nd in Santa Ana
Chris TORRES who died on May 4th in Newport Beach
Roger TOPP who died on May 4th in Newport Beach
Stephen CHAREST who died on May 4th in Anaheim
George MARTINEZ who died on May 4th in Anaheim
Marcos SORIANO-ALCANTARA who died on May 5th in Santa Ana
Douglas JONES who died on May 6th in Anaheim
Juan De Dios GONZALES who died on May 6th in Anaheim
Donna HANNON who died on May 6th in Orange
Quynh NGUYEN who died on May 8th in Fountain Valley
Russell NEAL who died on May 8th in Fountain Valley
James WYMAN who died on May 8th in Santa Ana
Roberto OROPEZA who died on May 9th in Anaheim
Jonah SISKIND who died on May 9th in Santa Ana
Ana RODRIGUEZ who died on May 11th in Santa Ana
Jason DAHL who died on May 11th in Anaheim
Justin MALONE who died on May 11th in Anaheim
Ryan SANCHEZ who died on May 12th in Fullerton
Christine RAYKOFF who died on May 15th in Huntington Beach
Shaun COLEMAN who died on May 18th in Anaheim
Jose XICALHUA IXMATLAHUA who died on May 18th in Mission Viejo
Brittany MCGOWAN who died on May 20th in Buena Park
Louis SENA who died on May 21st in Costa Mesa
Wilfred LEBLANC who died on May 21st in Orange
Hobart CAHILL JR. who died on May 23rd in Fountain Valley
Daniel SMITH who died on May 25th in Buena Park
Robin BILLHIMER who died on May 25th in Huntington Beach
Nathan CLARK who died on May 26th in Orange
Shawna FRANKLIN who died on May 27th in Huntington Beach
Ruben PEREZ who died on May 27th in Huntington Beach
Miguel CARRILLO who died on May 28th in Santa Ana
Joshua REICH who died on May 28th in Santa Ana
Gerald VILLAFLORES who died on May 29th in Huntington Beach
Gregory SANTIAGO who died on May 29th in Fullerton
Adrian PICOS who died on May 29th in Orange
Zachary WEAVER who died on May 30th in Anaheim
Edward BARNES who died on May 30th in Santa Ana
Tyler BELONGIE who died on May 30th in Lake Forest
Abigail ALLENBAUGH who died on May 31st in Santa Ana
This makes for 205 deaths among those “without fixed abode” (homeless) since the beginning of the year. last year, which in itself was a record year, the number was 132. In 2020 the number was 100, in 2019, the last year before COVID-19, the number was 85. In 2019, the number of deaths among those “without fixed abode” for the entire year was 209.
So we’ve seen a more than doubling of the death rate among those without fixed abode (homeless) since 2019.
Last month, the County actually “celebrated” a 1142 person (17%) decrease in homelessness between January 2019 and January 2022 based on the federally mandated “point in time counts” for these two years. Yet during the same period, 947 people “without fixed abode” died in OC. So 83% of the reduction of homelessness in OC between 2019 and 2022 could be attributed simply to the deaths of the homeless.
Since the end of January of this year, the number of homeless individuals in OC would have decreased by another 159 people through death.
I think we can all agree with Harry Langenbacher, member of the Unitarian/Universalist Congregation of Fullerton and member of Housing is a Human Right OC, that “death is the worst possible outcome of homelessness.”
What to do about it? Well, we continue to wait for the Commission promised by OC Sheriff Barnes at the beginning of the year to study the matter, noting that those 205 people died since the announcement of this initiative.
In the meantime, it just gets worse. We at St. Philip Benizi Parish in Fullerton have been forced to respond to a steady stream of FAMILIES with YOUNG CHILDREN coming to us recently homeless.
We send them to get put into the County’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) to get registered for assistance. Even that step has proven incredibly frustrating. Recently accompanying a mother with a three-year-old, I stood in shock while the personnel at the “access point” gave her an appointment to simply get entered into the system 10 days (!) hence. (She didn’t speak English well, the explanation given was that a Spanish-speaking entry person would only be available then).
Needless to say, I made a few angry phone calls and sent out a few angry emails up and down the whole political and service provider structure here in Northern OC, and 18 hours later, the mother and her family were dutifully entered into the system. In the meantime, we at the parish made sure that the woman and her kids were in a hotel for the next several days while her situation was sorted out.
But the story does not end there. I was then told by one of the directors of a local “service provider” that there were 32 other families just like this one all already entered into the system in Northern OC and waiting for services.
How is that possible? How is it possible that ANY FAMILY that finds itself homeless is asked to stay on the streets indefinitely while space somewhere is perhaps, eventually, made available to them?
Also, frankly, after I told the woman what the director of that non-profit told me that there were 32 other families (!!) ahead of her in line for services, she did what every sensible person responsible for small children would do … she made the necessary phone calls and arrangements and within 24 hours found a solution for herself on her own.
One of the campaigns that Housing is a Human Right, OC launched in this past year is simply called #BeHonest. And honestly, truth helps.
People need to know (1) how to register for assistance, (2) that they are actually registered for assistance (get a RECEIPT of some sort) after they set out to do so, and (3) have a means to check HOW MUCH LONGER they should expect to wait for said assistance.
Finding out that there were 32 other families ahead of her, expecting assistance was both a SHOCK and a BREATH OF FRESH AIR for both that woman and us trying to help her. The constellation of potentially useful strategies changes with the injection of TRUTH / REALITY into the equation.
But let me leave the readers here with the reality that not only 205 people “without fixed abode” have died on the streets of OC since the beginning of the year but that there are 32 now homeless FAMILIES out there in NorthSPA of OC, and somehow expected to stay that way, homeless, on the streets, until the county’s “service providers” find them something.
How is that possible?
Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.
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