Another 41 people died of “no fixed abode,” meaning homeless, in Orange County last month. Their names are:
Samuel LIEBMANN who died on August 1 at Dana Point
Dennis ROSEN died August 3 in Cypress
Tricia SIMS died August 4 in Santa Ana
Robert RINEHART died on August 4 in Huntington Beach
Kristina VIDAL died on August 6 in Placentia
Orion GARDNER died on August 7 in Costa Mesa
Francisco TORRES died on August 7 in La Habra
Toby WHIPPLE died August 8 in Huntington Beach
Micheal REED died August 8 in Fullerton
Miguel VELASQUEZ JR. died August 9 in Anaheim
Joseph SIORDIA died on August 9 in Orange
Addison LINNEEN died August 11 in Fullerton
Richard FERNANDEZ died on August 12 in Costa Mesa
Stanley SINGLETON died August 12 in Anaheim
James MASTRIANNA died August 12 in Anaheim
Joseph CONROY died on August 13 at Mission Viejo
Zachary HAWKINS died on August 13 in Orange
Thomas FRENCH died on August 14 in Santa Ana
William NEBLETT who died on August 15 in Costa Mesa
Alvaro CARBAJAL died on August 16 in Costa Mesa
Michael MASTERS died August 15 in Costa Mesa
Manuel REYES died on August 16 in Santa Ana
Aaron PARKS died August 16 in Santa Ana
Richard RENSINK died on August 17 at Seal Beach
Jennifer WEIDNER died on August 18 in Santa Ana
Rogelio CARBAJAL PENA died on August 18 in Orange
José ALVARDO died on August 19 in Orange
Daniel PRICE died on August 20 in Santa Ana
Isaiah MURILLO died on August 21 in San Clemente
Ronald CUSHEY died on August 21 in Santa Ana
Joshua DEVORE died on August 23 in Garden Grove
Robert AZEVEDO died on August 23 in Santa Ana
Marc HERNANDEZ died on August 24 at Dana Point
Mary FELIZ died August 25 in Anaheim
Jovun BROADNAX died Aug. 25 in Anaheim
Joe RIVERA died on August 25 in Orange
Jeff SHUBAT died August 26 in Fountain Valley
Jose GUZMAN died August 27 in Anaheim
Désirée MENDOZA died on August 27 in Anaheim
James RADVANSKY died on August 28 in La Habra
Robin O’CONNELL died August 29 in Santa Ana
This brings the number of homeless deaths to 328 for the year so far. Last year, then also a peak year, the total number of homeless deaths in August was 261. Thus, this year’s homeless death rate increased by about 25.7% from to last year again, at the time also a record year.
Looking at these numbers another way, taking seriously OC’s point-in-time tally from January 2022, where the total number of people found homeless was 5,718, 5.7% of the homeless population at the start of the county year has now passed away, with four months in the year to go. We can fully expect to see between 8 and 10 percent of the county’s start-of-the-year homeless population dead by the end of the year.
What is the county and its constituent cities doing about it? Not a lot. Supposedly, the county is spending up to $1.4 billion on homelessness, yet families with children and seniors with disabilities are being told to wait on the streets while they are treated for the first times, then shelter is found for them. How is it possible?
Here in Fullerton, a state-of-the-art, 150-bed navigation center is being held empty because the city refuses to pay the $70-per-bed cost to place people there. He says he has no money, but he doesn’t ask for money either. Again $1.4 billion is supposed to be spent on homelessness in this county and yet a state of the art 150 bed navigation center is being bled dry for lack of funds. How is it possible?
So certainly in Fullerton, but almost certainly in the entire county, every homeless person we encounter is out there on the streets simply because our government officials have chosen to keep them there, watching our children as they play. at little league sports, greeting them at a few public restrooms we leave open in our parks. These unfortunates are out there, baking in the sun, marinating in their own sweat, periodically getting sprayed by our parks sprinkler systems to add to their discomfort (and then our fear), because our government officials have chosen to keep it there.
Ask yourself honestly, what do we pay our police to do if there are shelters, good shelters, no longer Buchenwald-style shelters, but shelters with 24-hour air conditioning, TV, internet, 3 meals a day, shower, laundry and medical facilities, and…they are kept empty even as all around us we have people who haven’t had a shower or clean clothes in weeks, wandering our streets or sleeping in our parks.
It doesn’t have to be that way. But we choose to keep it that way.
Prof. Dennis Kriz, OSM, Pastor St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Fullerton.
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