Another 42 people “without fixed abode” died in Orange County in May. Their names are:
Kyle CASTILLO who died on May 1st in Cypress
John MCQUISTON who died on May 1st in Fullerton
Dennis MARTIN who died on May 2nd in Tustin
Gareth LLOYD who died on May 2nd in Mission Viejo
Michael TWISS who died on May 3rd in Anaheim
Gregory BIRD who died on May 3rd in Los Alamitos
Alejandro DURAN who died on May 3rd in Santa Ana
Jose FLORES who died on May 6th in Santa Ana
Judith PETT who died on May 8th in Anaheim
Michael MASON who died on May 8th in Irvine
Daniel MATICH who died on May 9th in Laguna Beach
Robert BUCHANAN who died on May 10th in Westminster
Juan LEON who died on May 10th in Orange
Cesar ARAMBULA who died on May 11th in Santa Ana
Kevin ELLISON who died on May 12th in Santa Ana
David FISHER who died on May 12th in Orange
Petronila FERNANDEZ-GARCIA who died on May 12th in Orange
Patrick LE who died on May 14th in Santa Ana
Danielle SMITH who died on May 15th in Garden Grove
Jesus MORALES who died on May 15th in Orange
Charles LAWRENCE who died on May 15th in Anaheim
Michael CONWAY who died on May 17th in Anaheim
David ALLEN who died on May 17th in Santa Ana
Shane REYES who died on May 18th in Santa Ana
Jessie EDWARDS who died on May 18th in Midway City
Mark PIERCE who died on May 18th in Orange
Ana PEREZ who died on May 24th in Stanton
David CASTRO who died on May 25th in Santa Ana
Matthew ROMERO who died on May 25th in Garden Grove
Jane DOE who died on May 26th in Irvine
Terry POTTS who died on May 26th in Orange
Lynn BLACK who died on May 26th in Newport Beach
Lauren DAWES who died on May 26th in Anaheim
Darren SMITH who died on May 27th in Tustin
Mark HANNA who died on May 27th in Fullerton
Ruben CARRILLO, JR. who died on May 27th in Orange
Robert HAWLEY, JR. who died on May 29th in Fountain Valley
Tenesha GETTS who died on May 29th in Garden Grove
James MCGEEIN who died on May 29th in Huntington Beach
Raymond LOVALOY who died on May 31st in Santa Ana
Stuart OGLE who died on May 31st in Huntington Beach
Michael MORRISON who died on May 31st in Costa Mesa
Additionally there was this person:
Lisa CRESPO who died on March 13th in Orange
who died without fixed abode who was not listed until now.
The 43 people added to the County’s homeless death toll in May brings us back to the record-breaking death tolls of last year. Indeed, with the exception of a welcome one-month dip last month, the year to date the death count among those “without fixed abode” is 10% higher (227 vs 205) for this year over last year.
To put it in perspective, if one takes the 2022 PIT seriously, nearly 4% (3.96%) of the County’s 5,718 person homeless population has already died since the beginning of the year, and we are on track for a full 9.5% of the County’s homeless population dying by the end of the year.
The County could admit reality and declare a homeless emergency.
It could sit down with the ACLU, the American domestic equivalent of Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, and quickly do what the U.N. has done across the globe whenever there is a refugee crisis: quickly find a way to credibly and humanely put a roof over the heads of every single person currently sleeping on the streets of our County.
The U.N. has done this for 80 years in war zones with all kinds of traumatized people without violating anybody’s rights, primarily because it has not sought to oppose agencies like the International Red Cross or Amnesty International. Instead, throughout its whole history, the UN has actively sought to work with agencies such as these to do its job both effectively and credibly.
Yes, it would require a significant cultural shift in Orange County to do similarly – it would require the County, beginning with its leaders, but also then its population, us, all of us, to finally concede the humanity of the people sleeping on our streets.
And if these people are human, then they have rights and both the Holy See (since Pius XII’s war time addresses) and the United Nations (in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have declared HOUSING to be a human right.
Last year, Europe was able to absorb 4-5 million Ukrainian Refugees fleeing a war zone. Poland, with an equivalent population to California (38M to 39M) but 1/2 its GDP ($1.7T to $3.0T) was able to first provide shelter and then housing to over a million of those refugees.
Earlier, Germany with a population of 84M and a GDP of $5.7T so roughly equivalent to California, was able to absorb (provide both jobs and housing) to one million Syrian refugees, again fleeing a war zone, and here being from both an ethnicity and largely of a religion that most Germans did not particularly understand. But Germany was able to do this, because their country saw the humanity of the people coming to their doorsteps.
Honestly, why can’t we do that?
Why do we continue to insist that some people as “less people” than others?
And don’t we see that we diminish ourselves when we do that to others?
The clock is ticking and the death toll mounts. Nearly 10% of our homeless population will be dead by the end of the year, if nothing changes.
Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.
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