33 people who died “Without Fixed Abode” in OC in June, 2023.  Their names are:

Ramazan GUNEY who died on June 3rd in Garden Grove

Christopher KLAMCZYNSKI who died on June 4th in Costa Mesa

Marvin ADDINGTON who died on June 5th in Santa Ana

David TANNER who died on June 5th in San Clemente

Robert MILLER who died on June 5th in Westminster

Oscar HERNANDEZ who died on June 6th in Santa Ana

Jesus HERNANDEZ who died on June 7th in Santa Ana

Ronda SEIPERT who died on June 8th in Cypress

Andrew MACHONIS who died on June 9th in Garden Grove

Jonny MONICA HERNANDEZ who died on June 10th in Anaheim

Kathy WARD who died on June 10th in Stanton

Sebastian MENDOZA who died on June 11th in Westminster

Earl LUDWICK, JR. who died on June 12th in Santa Ana

Sundae DURAN who died on June 13th in Anaheim

Deborah LEET who died on June 14th in Tustin

Christian SHEA who died on June 14th in Costa Mesa

Earle BELKNAP who died on June 14th in San Clemente

Tomas TAPIA who died on June 15th in Santa Ana

Juan CABRERA who died on June 15th in Santa Ana

Edward WILLIAMS who died on June 16th in Tustin

Ashton ARELLANO who died on June 18th in Stanton

Steven KELLY who died on June 19th in La Palma

Tung NGUYEN who died on June 22nd in Orange

Steve MERAZ who died on June 24th in Westminster

Victor TORRES who died on June 26th in Garden Grove

Sang HAN who died on June 27th in Anaheim

Vu NGUYEN who died on June 28th in Fountain Valley

Raymond QUEZADA who died on June 28th in Santa Ana

Vittorio VALDEZ who died on June 28th in Fullerton

Emily GAITHER who died on June 29th in Fountain Valley

Ian HUGO who died on June 29th in Garden Grove

Eduardo CERROS BARAJAS who died on June 30th in Garden Grove

Additionally, there was the one other person who had died in May, 2023 but had still gone unrecorded last month.  His name is:

Brian LEMASTERS who died on May 30th in Anaheim

The 34 person death toll continues the sad record breaking pace for the year.  All told, 260 people “without fixed abode” have already died in the County during the first six months of this year, a number 10% higher than the then record breaking 228 people who had died in the first six months of last year. 

If things do not change, then 520 people “without fixed abode” will have died in the County by the end of year, breaking, indeed shattering, the 500 mark for the first time in OC, and would result in nearly 10% of the County’s beginning of the year homeless population (counted 5718 by the County’s last federally mandated Point in Time Count which took place in January 2022) to be dead by the end of the year.

Following last month’s warning that nearly 10% of the County’s beginning of the year homeless population stands to be dead by the end of the year, I talked to various leaders across the County about doing something. 

I wish to reiterate here what one sincere County official told me.  He said that there would even be the money to do something.  The fear however, that everyone has, is … of us, the constituents, who would punish anyone to do anything substantial to reduce the number of people sleeping homeless on our streets or in our shelters.

If this is true, then we ourselves are currently the ones most responsible for the deaths of the people who are homeless on our streets.  

How would this be?  In Orange County, we tend to carry our religion on our sleeves.

Yet there simply is no religion that encourages leaving people to suffer and die, certainly not Judaism, Christianity of Islam. 

We are repeatedly warned by the Prophets that “God hears the cries of the poor.”  Israel’s experience of the Exodus is presented as a concrete example of God doing so and is cited by the Prophets as a warning not to oppress the poor. 

Christians are told in Matthew 25 that our judgement will not be on our profession of faith (truly anyone can say “Lord, Lord…”) but in our treatment of (seeing Jesus in) “the least among us.”

And in Islam, one simply cannot be a good Muslim if one does not care for the poor.

Then in the Eastern religions, while suffering is at times seen as punishment for karmic failings in the past, the implication is that if we choose to ignore the sufferings of the poor in this life then we stand to suffer for those karmic failings in the future.

So, there is no excuse for a believer of pretty much any faith to do nothing, or next to nothing, in the face of 10% of our most vulnerable people dying in the streets by the end of the year.

“But they’re ugly, but they smell, but they’re unruly, but they made bad decisions.”  Yes.  So, at times do we all.

We can do better.  We indeed must or else nearly 10% of our County’s most vulnerable brothers and sisters will be dead by the end of the year.

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

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