Another 45 people died “without fixed abode” in Orange County in December 2022. Their names are:
Vinh CAO who died on Nov 25th in Garden Grove
Walfre POZGONZALEZ who died on December 1st in Anaheim
Hotai GASTON who died on December 1st in San Clemente
David CAHOON who died on December 2nd in Orange
Jesus MURRIETA CEBREROS who died on December 2nd in Santa Ana
Amy CARPENTER who died on December 3rd in Westminster
Michelle HALL who died on December 3rd in Santa Ana
Arturo MORALES who died on December 3rd in Costa Mesa
Ryan GRAJEDA who died on December 3rd in Orange
Chad NELLS who died on December 3rd in Santa Ana
Jason HASTINGS who died on December 4th in Fountain Valley
Michael CADAVAS who died on December 5th in Anaheim
Christopher DAVIS who died on December 5th in Garden Grove
Jesus CAUDILLO who died on December 6th in Santa Ana
Debra DENNY who died on December 6th in Buena Park
Oscar GONZALEZ who died on December 7th in Santa Ana
Shane ROBBINS who died on December 7th in Huntington Beach
Robert ADAMS JR. who died on December 7th in Fountain Valley
Juan MENDOZA RODRIGUEZ who died on December 8th in Buena Park
Nikki GILL who died on December 11th in Anaheim
Jesus RENTERIA who died on December 11th in Anaheim
Adam KNAPP who died on December 13th in San Juan Capistrano
Elizabeth MAIDEN who died on December 14th in Mission Viejo
Ricardo ACEVEDO who died on December 15th in Anaheim
Christian LEON who died on December 15th in Huntington Beach
Bryan PEREZ who died on December 15th in Santa Ana
Prince MUTABAZI who died on December 16th in Orange
Alan LEWIS who died on December 18th in Anaheim
James MIZE who died on December 19th in Huntington Beach
James BOWLING, JR. who died on December 20th in Santa Ana
Alberto OCHOA, JR. who died on December 20th in Anaheim
Joseph ERICKSON who died on December 21st in Huntington Beach
Robert SAUL who died on December 22nd in Garden Grove
Mitchell JACKLEY who died on December 22nd in Santa Ana
Erroll SMITH who died on December 23rd in Fountain Valley
Patrick LAVERY who died on December 23rd in Newport Beach
Juan MARTINEZ RAMOS who died on December 24th in Anaheim
Jason OLSON who died on December 24th in Newport Beach
Alejandro AGUILAR who died on December 25th in Buena Park
Robert ALLEN who died on December 25th in Fullerton
Joseph GHOSOPH who died on December 27th in Garden Grove
Kristopher MOORE who died on December 27th in Costa Mesa
Vance JONES who died on December 28th in Costa Mesa
Robert RODEN who died on December 29th in Santa Ana
Juan OROZCO who died on December 29th in Fountain Valley
Allen LAMOREAU who died on December 31st in Santa Ana.
With the addition of these 45 souls, the number of people who died “without fixed abode” in OC in 2022 came to a total of 488, or 8.53% of the County’s beginning of the year homeless population of 5718 persons. In 2021, 381 people died without fixed abode in OC. In 2019, the last full year before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 209 people died without a fixed abode in OC. So the death rate among those “without fixed abode” in the County has more than doubled since 2019.
Why? Well, a commission to be chaired by the OC Sheriff Barnes was announced at the beginning of 2022. But if it was ever fully empaneled or ever met, its conclusions and recommendations for action have never been made public. So we are left to guess.
With the rain, a good deal of concern has been voiced over the lack of “Cold Weather Shelters” in OC. It has been proposed the County’s Armories in Santa Ana and Fullerton be reopened as said Cold Weather Shelters.
Yet here it must be said that the Armory Shelter Program at least here in Fullerton – a half a mile from my parish of St. Philip Benizi – came to be hated by both the neighbors and most of the people that it was supposed to serve.
First, the shelter became an excuse for the rest of Northern Orange County to do nothing or next to nothing for the homeless. Then since the shelter offered no medical triage and nothing more than mats on the ground spaced 18 inches apart until 5:30 AM, when everyone was woken up and kicked out by 6 AM (at literally the coldest time of the day …), the 30 or refugees of this facility that used to sleep on our parish grounds derisively called the facility “a petri dish.”
Could a medical component to the facility be added so that people clearly suffering from respiratory illnesses be at least separated from those who came to the facility just fine? Yes. Would anybody seriously believe that this will be done? No.
Would there be ready alternatives to returning the SW Fullerton neighborhood where both the Fullerton Armory and St. Philip Benizi Parish stand into North Orange County’s homeless Soweto? Of course, there are.
In early 2021 during the height of the Delta surge during the Covid-19 Crisis, public health authorities put up a MASH-like facility at the doors of St. Jude’s Hospital to offer the hospital options in responding to the medical needs – COVID and non – of the people coming there.
At minimum, the tents could be put up again at medical facilities across the County as cold weather shelters, allowing quick and effective response to those people finding themselves homeless and suffering from the various respiratory illnesses that the cold, wet environment brings.
Municipalities with no medical facilities like St. Jude’s could set up similar temporary facilities by their fire stations to once again offer ready medical triage and care to those people, homeless, who arrived at their doors in need of help.
Hotel vouchers could also be given out to people sleeping on the streets so that they could sleep indoors in beds rather than on mats or on the streets.
The County could finally fully use the state-of-the-art Fullerton Navigation Center (and emphatically with a medical facility) which was built largely to replace the definition of spartan Fullerton Armory and has a history of being left largely empty.
So there are plenty of things we can do that would be both effective and fair, rather than impose a tired solution, roundly hated by all, that was neither.
As always, we can certainly do better than that. And yes, in the rain, the clock is ticking.
Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.
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