Another 47 people died “without fixed abode” in OC in July. Their names are:
John POWERS who died on July 1st in Huntington Beach
Robert HAAS who died on July 1st in Cypress
Rose GIBBONS who died on July 2nd in Irvine
Kianoosh KASRA who died on July 2nd in Anaheim
Jesus CONTRERAS MUNOZ who died on July 2nd in Santa Ana
David MENDEZ who died on July 3rd in Anaheim
Cheri RICHARDSON who died on July 3rd in Orange
Jose TIZNADO-BAHENA who died on July 4th in San Juan Capistrano
Manuel GONZALEZ who died on July 5th in Fountain Valley
William SMALLWOOD who died on July 6th in Santa Ana
Denny PIERCE who died on July 6th in Newport Beach
Noah BOWERS-RAMOS who died on July 8th in Anaheim
David SHAW who died on July 8th in Lake Forest
Jesus GARCIA JR. who died on July 8th in Orange
Ethen ANGCAYAN who died on July 9th in Ladera Ranch
Jeffrey RADFORD who died on July 9th in Placentia
Segundo MARTINEZ JAUREGUI who died on July 10th in Santa Ana
Sara SPAGNOLINI who died on July 10th in Lake Forest
Gary SARGENT who died on July 10th in Placentia
Greg ODAY who died on July 11th in Laguna Hills
Jason WILLIAMS who died on July 11th in Santa Ana
Beau HENDRICKS who died on July 12th in San Clemente
Rigoberto BENITEZ who died on July 12th in Anaheim
Caleb COKER who died on July 13th in Dana Point
Renee MONTOYA who died on July 13th in Fullerton
Chanel JOHN who died on July 13th in Anaheim
Yvonne CATALAN who died on July 13th in Anaheim
Aaron HOLLY who died on July 14th in Anaheim
Robert CAPPS who died on July 15th in Anaheim
Brian BARTON who died on July 16th in Anaheim
Bridget POOL who died on July 16th in Buena Park
Donald SMITH who died on July 16th in Santa Ana
Jalal SOUFI who died on July 16th in Santa Ana
Dylan BARKER who died on July 17th in Santa Ana
Joseph MORENO who died on July 17th in Orange
Salina SANTIAGO who died on July 19th in Placentia
Justin YRARRAZAVAL who died on July 20th in Anaheim
Joshua PONDER who died on July 22nd in Anaheim
Scott MOORE who died on July 23rd in Fountain Valley
Danielle SIMMS who died on July 23rd in Huntington Beach
Travis BEESON who died on July 24th in Dana Point
Ruben OROSCO who died on July 25th in Brea
Jacob QUINN who died on July 26th in Garden Grove
Marc NELSON who died on July 27th in Garden Grove
Michael FREIBURGER who died on July 27th in Anaheim
Kenneth BROWNE who died on July 29th in Rancho Santa Margarita
Tony MENDOZA who died on July 31st in Santa Ana
Additionally there was one other person who died in June but whose name was only recorded by the Coroner’s Office in July. His name is:
Jose CONTRERAS CASTANEDA who died on June 30th in Orange
The additional 48 people added to the list of deceased brings the number of deceased among the County’s homeless to 308 for the year (last year there were 288 deceased at this time), and if the trend continues 9.2% of the County’s beginning of the year homeless population will have died by year’s end.
It’s been two months since I wrote here that a full 10% of the County’s homeless population may die by the end of the year. Since then I’ve talked to both public and religious leaders about this, including my own bishop.
It appears to be the consensus of our County’s leaders that the greatest obstacle for responding to this staggering death toll is simply us ourselves.
It’s not necessarily that we’re evil people, but we choose not to care. Many in the County simply don’t see people who find themselves homeless (and consider themselves fortunate for not needing to face this problem).
Others, including honestly myself at times, bite down and sigh, when confronted by someone who appears to clearly need some help. We feel inadequate, we feel overwhelmed, yes, at times we feel irritated by the person’s entry, even if not briefly, into our lives.
So it would seem that the first challenge for us is to come to see the people around us in need of help as, well, human, like us, worthy of our concern / care.
For people of faith like me, there is actually a very simple way to do this – to start to pray for them.
Yes, such a step may seem wildly inadequate initially. What good is prayer if one does not do anything for the person afterwards? Well, prayer is certainly not the complete solution, but it is certainly a start.
It’s hard to go back to not caring, if one starts praying for someone. And yes, I inevitably find that solutions start popping in my head (and in my heart) when I start praying for someone.
So taking into account the advice of County’s leadership, both civil and religious, I’d simply like to ask the people of our humble County to just start praying for the people that we find on our streets who are homeless.
Find time each week, or at the end of each day, to pray for the people we’ve met that we were not able to help. Yes, we might find the problem initially overwhelming. But solutions will be found and we may even become parts of the solutions.
We all know the alternative: We will continue to see people on our streets who scare us, and we will continue to try to find ways to try to shield ourselves from them.
Let’s instead start praying for them and see where our collective consciences take us. Honestly, our County’s leaders will be happily listening.
Fr. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.
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