St Philip Benizi Church's Youth Group decorating Christmas Cookies for the Homeless Residents of the Buena Park Navigation Center.

Another 44 people died “without fixed abode,” homeless, in Orange County in November.  Their names are:

Jason DOUGLAS who died on Nov. 1st in Huntington Beach

Frank VO who died on Nov. 1st in Anaheim

Richard FOXWORTH JR. who died on Nov. 2nd in Buena Park

Brian FOLSOM who died on Nov. 3rd in Garden Grove

Steven HICKS who died on Nov. 3rd in Cypress

Jeremy JOHNSON who died on Nov. 5th in Garden Grove

Efrain SANDOVAL who died on Nov. 6th in Orange

Mason CASTRO who died on Nov. 6th in Anaheim

Hung TRAN who died on Nov. 6th in Anaheim

Robert RICE who died on Nov. 6th in Capistrano Beach

Michael KLASSEN who died on Nov. 7th in Huntington Beach

Christopher HAGEMAN who died on Nov. 7th in Mission Viejo

Antonio HERNANDEZ who died on Nov. 7th in Newport Beach

John BURLESON JR. who died on Nov. 7th in Stanton

Kurtis ZEIGLER who died on Nov. 9th in Huntington Beach

Brenda SZAKALL who died on Nov. 11th in Santa Ana

Anton JENSTAD who died on Nov. 11th in Santa Ana

David SMITH who died on Nov. 11th in Garden Grove

Richard ALDAY who died on Nov. 11th in La Habra

Michael BOLTZ who died on Nov. 12th in Orange

German SANCHEZ who died on Nov. 13th in Santa Ana

Gilberto ESTRADA who died on Nov. 13th in Anaheim

Denise BECKER who died on Nov. 14th in Anaheim

Todd KING who died on Nov. 15th in Huntington Beach

Scott SIMMONS who died on Nov. 17th in Huntington Beach

Escobar GARCIA who died on Nov. 17th in Stanton

Ron KAPUR who died on Nov. 18th in Laguna Beach

Dirk WHITE who died on Nov.18th in Tustin

Leedora WASHINGTON who died on Nov. 20th in Santa Ana

Loren WESLEYSON who died on Nov. 22nd in Stanton

Jason YOUNG who died on Nov.23rd in Orange

Damian FARROUX who died on Nov.23rd in Garden Grove

Luke DAGUE who died on Nov.23rd in Fullerton

Jose GARCIA who died on Nov.23rd in Garden Grove

Petru ILIE who died on Nov. 24th in Santa Ana

Tuyen PHAM who died on Nov. 24th in Huntington Beach

Thong NGUYEN who died on Nov. 25th in Garden Grove

Michael GARCIA who died on Nov. 26th in Anaheim

Erik SANSON who died on Nov. 26th in Santa Ana

Michael CHADWICK who died on Nov. 26th in Orange

Jeff KINCAID who died on Nov. 27th in Costa Mesa

Lisa OLEA who died on Nov.28th in Anaheim

Guy ADAMS who died on Nov. 30th in Santa Ana

John KELLY who died on Nov. 30th in Westminster

William BELDING who died on Nov. 30th in Orange

The total for the year with one month to go is 449 homeless deceased (last year for the full year the number was 381) or if taking the federally mandated 2022 PIT Count seriously, a full 7.8% of the County’s 5718 person homeless population has died since the beginning of the year. 

One gets the sense that Fentanyl will be blamed for many of the additional deaths this year, and indeed the increase in deaths over the past several years. 

This may be true, but then the County hasn’t yet done much of anything with regard to the entry and increase of this poison in the County’s illicit drug supply.

Should the County do something?  Well during Prohibition people were charged with additional crimes if they sold bad alcohol – spirits laced, at times accidentally, with ether, methanol, or other chemicals, sometimes flat out poisons, due to unregulated (illegal), amateur-level production.

And at minimum, the County’s homeless people, knowing full well just how little both the general population and the government officials it elects want to do for them, ought to take the mortal danger of Fentanyl to heart. 

There is no Cavalry coming.  If you die of Fentanyl poisoning, most of the population here will happily dismiss your death as your own fault, and they will use your death as further justification to do nothing both with regard to the rising scourge of Fentanyl in the County and homelessness in general. 

Honestly, you are largely on your own.  But then you have the power to simply not take the drugs, to show the County and its general population that you are better than they think you are. 

This all said, the results of the mid-term election here in the County, like those across the Country in general have proven to not be nearly as awful as feared by many. 

There’s honestly a chance that homeless families with small children will not have to sleep on the streets for days or even an indefinite period of time before being put in a hotel or otherwise having a roof put over their heads.

There may be some hope, pushed forward by a lawsuit, that people reduced to sleeping in their vehicles may soon be given designated places where they could legally park (and sleep) overnight.

There is hope, but again, it would be useful for the County’s homeless population to understand what they are up against: a general population which largely believes that it doesn’t owe them anything, and plenty of leaders and officials looking for excuses – like Fentanyl – to not do anything. 

With truth however comes freedom and identification of sober options even on one’s own, for the future.

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

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