Another 41 people died “without fixed abode,” that is homeless, in Orange County last month. Their names are:
Samuel LIEBMANN who died on August 1st in Dana Point
Dennis ROSEN who died on August 3rd in Cypress
Tricia SIMS who died on August 4th in Santa Ana
Robert RINEHART who died on August 4th in Huntington Beach
Kristina VIDAL who died on August 6th in Placentia
Orion GARDNER who died on August 7th in Costa Mesa
Francisco TORRES who died on August 7th in La Habra
Toby WHIPPLE who died on August 8th in Huntington Beach
Micheal REED who died on August 8th in Fullerton
Miguel VELASQUEZ JR. who died on August 9th in Anaheim
Joseph SIORDIA who died on August 9th in Orange
Addison LINNEEN who died on August 11th in Fullerton
Richard FERNANDEZ who died on August 12th in Costa Mesa
Stanley SINGLETON who died on August 12th in Anaheim
James MASTRIANNA who died on August 12th in Anaheim
Joseph CONROY who died on August 13th in Mission Viejo
Zachary HAWKINS who died on August 13th in Orange
Thomas FRENCH who died on August 14th in Santa Ana
William NEBLETT who died on August 15th in Costa Mesa
Alvaro CARBAJAL who died on August 16th in Costa Mesa
Michael MASTERS who died on August 15th in Costa Mesa
Manuel REYES who died on August 16th in Santa Ana
Aaron PARKS who died on August 16th in Santa Ana
Richard RENSINK who died on August 17th in Seal Beach
Jennifer WEIDNER who died on August 18th in Santa Ana
Rogelio CARBAJAL PENA who died on August 18th in Orange
Jose ALVARDO who died on August 19th in Orange
Daniel PRICE who died on August 20th in Santa Ana
Isaiah MURILLO who died on August 21st in San Clemente
Ronald CUSHEY who died on August 21st in Santa Ana
Joshua DEVORE who died on August 23rd in Garden Grove
Robert AZEVEDO who died on August 23rd in Santa Ana
Marc HERNANDEZ who died on August 24th in Dana Point
Mary FELIZ who died on August 25th in Anaheim
Jovun BROADNAX who died on August 25th in Anaheim
Joe RIVERA who died on August 25th in Orange
Jeff SHUBAT who died on August 26th in Fountain Valley
Jose GUZMAN who died on August 27th in Anaheim
Desiree MENDOZA who died on August 27th in Anaheim
James RADVANSKY who died on August 28th in La Habra
Robin O’CONNELL who died on August 29th in Santa Ana
This brings the number of homeless deaths to 328 for the year thus far. Last year, then also a record year, the total number of homeless deaths by August was 261. So this year’s homeless death rate has increased by some 25.7% over last year, again, back then also a record year.
Considering these numbers in another way, taking OC’s January 2022 Point in Time Count seriously, where the total number of persons found to be homeless were counted to be 5718, a full 5.7% of the County’s beginning of the year homeless population is now dead, with four months in the year to go. We can fully expect to see between 8-10% of the County’s beginning of the year homeless population to be dead by the end of the year.
What are the County and its constituent Cities doing about this? Not much. Supposedly the County is spending up to $1.4 billion on homelessness, and yet there are both families with kids and seniors with disabilities being asked to wait on the streets while they are first processed and then shelter is found for them. How is that possible?
Here in Fullerton, a 150 bed state of the art Navigation Center is being kept empty because the City refuses to pay the $70/bed cost of putting people there. It says it doesn’t have the money but it also does not ask for the money. Again, $1.4 billion is supposedly being spent on homelessness in this County and yet a 150 bed state of the art Navigation Center is being bled dry for lack of funds. How is that possible?
So certainly in Fullerton but almost certainly across the County, every single homeless person that we encounter is there on the street simply because our government officials choose to keep them there, staring at our kids as they play little league sports, greeting them at the few public toilets that we leave open in our parks. These unfortunate people are there, baking in the sun, marinating in their own sweat, getting periodically doused by the sprinkler systems in our parks to add to their discomfort (and then to our fear), because our government officials choose to keep them there.
Ask yourselves honestly, what are we paying our police to do if there are shelters, good shelters, no longer Buchenwald style shelters, but shelters with 24-hour AC, TV, internet, 3 meals a day, shower, laundry, and medical facilities, and … they are being kept empty even as everywhere around us we have baked people who haven’t had a shower or clean clothes in weeks wandering our streets or sleeping in our parks.
It doesn’t have to be this way. But we choose to keep it so.
Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.
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