Anaheim Declares Homelessness Emergency
The Anaheim City Council has voted to declare a state of emergency stemming from the large homeless community spanning the Santa Ana River near Angels Stadium. Wednesday’s vote was unanimous, cast shortly after midnight in an environment of exasperation over the health and safety risks posed by the county’s ballooning homeless population.
The city will now work with county officials to open additional emergency shelters, increase outreach services and step up law enforcement activities along the trail. The declaration came on the same day that the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved increased patrols by the sheriff’s department along the blighted riverbed.
"The crisis in the river bed puts those living in the camps at risk as well as those in the communities," said Councilwoman Kris Murray, who introduced the emergency resolution as part of a plan dubbed Operation Home S.A.F.E. "There are criminal elements taking hold in these areas. Threatening the homeless and residents. We have our own winter storm season coming and the flood control channel presents risk for lives who are there."
Councilwoman Lucille Kring agreed, likening the riverbed to “a prison without walls.”
Homeless advocates, however, objected to the plan, fearing it would pave the way for the forcible removal of people from their makeshift homes.
Read more about the mixed reactions to Wednesday’s vote here.