Anaheim de­clares emer­gency at home­less riverbed camp

Ripon Bulletin - - Local/state -

ANAHEIM (AP) — A South­ern Cal­i­for­nia city on Wed­nes­day de­clared an emer­gency over a grow­ing num­ber of home­less peo­ple liv­ing on the streets, and es­pe­cially along a pop­u­lar riverbed trail.

The Anaheim City Coun­cil ap­proved the mea­sure unan­i­mously af­ter hear­ing three hours of pub­lic com­ments and dis­cussing the is­sue for 90 min­utes dur­ing a meet­ing that ran into the early morn­ing.

More than a hun­dred peo­ple at­tended the meet­ing in­clud­ing city res­i­dents, home­less ad­vo­cates, busi­ness own­ers and re­porters.

“It’s im­por­tant that we re­al­ize this sit­u­a­tion has got­ten to a level that it is cre­at­ing a cri­sis in our com­mu­ni­ties and that we can­not solely rely on the county to solve this prob­lem,” said Coun­cil­woman Kris Mur­ray, who in­tro­duced the res­o­lu­tion called Op­er­a­tion Home Safe. “We have got to be will­ing to take it to the next level.”

A goal of the mea­sure is to at­tempt to re­lo­cate the home­less and dis­cour­age peo­ple from set­tling along the Santa Ana River trail, which is used for bik­ing, jog­ging and horse­back rid­ing.

City po­lice and sher­iff’s deputies will step up pa­trols on the trail start­ing Fri­day. The Or­ange County Board of Su­per­vi­sors on Tues­day unan­i­mously ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion to sup­port en­hanced pa­trol ef­forts by the sher­iff’s de­part­ment.

Res­i­dents say the area has been over­run by drug users and vi­o­lent tran­sients. Those camp­ing out there say of­fi­cials don’t un­der­stand their plight.

Or­ange County has 4,792 home­less peo­ple liv­ing in the county, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per. More than 900 home­less peo­ple live in Anaheim — a num­ber that has grown over the years — and nearly half have set up makeshift tents along a stretch near Honda Cen­ter and An­gel Sta­dium.

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