News Flash

City News - Current

Posted on: November 2, 2018

Addressing homelessness: Where we're at

City News logo

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Nov. 2, 2018) — Anaheim is moving ahead with plans for additional homeless shelter space to help those in need as we weigh a potential lawsuit settlement that would protect our ability to continue enforcing where needed.

For much of 2018, we have been working with federal Judge David Carter to resolve a lawsuit filed by Orange County Catholic Worker and several individuals against the county of Orange, Anaheim and other cities.

The lawsuit relates to the county’s clearing of the Santa Ana River Trail in early 2018. Throughout the process, we have seen the risk of some Anaheim laws being put on hold, with implications for our parks, streets and neighborhoods.

Anaheim will add 325 shelter beds at two industrial sites away from schools, parks and neighborhoods. Once up and running, these beds will allow us to step up efforts to transition people off our streets and address impacts on parks, neighborhoods and businesses.

We’re looking to have the additional shelter space in place by early 2019.
We’ll be sharing more details in coming weeks. You can learn more about the first of two shelters here.


Why shelters?

We know homeless shelters raise questions and concerns. They are now a necessity for Anaheim and cities across Orange County and California.

A September federal court ruling determined that Anaheim and other cities cannot enforce anti-camping and other laws without having shelter beds available.

Anaheim continues to address homelessness through daily outreach, as well as enforcement in situations where someone may be breaking the law.

Yet, at any given time, our efforts are limited by how many beds are available at county and nonprofit shelters we work with.

Having additional shelter space in Anaheim will ensure available beds that our outreach workers and Anaheim Police can offer to those living in homelessness and allow us to enforce in cases where someone is breaking the law or turns down an offer of help.

The operational and security planning behind Bridges at Kraemer Place, a county-run shelter that opened in 2017 in an industrial area in east Anaheim, is our model for new shelter space.

Despite initial concerns, Bridges has been a success with little to no impact on neighboring businesses, thanks to strong management and close cooperation with Anaheim Police.

Additional shelter space also would be a requirement of a legal settlement currently under consideration to resolve the lawsuit filed by Orange County Catholic Worker.


Parks, businesses

All the while, we are constantly working to address impacts at Maxwell, La Palma and other parks as well as at businesses in our city.

We have heard firsthand from residents and businesses about the undue impact they are seeing.

Solving these issues is the goal of our shelter plan. We ask for your support as additional shelter space is the only viable option to keep helping people out of homelessness and to restore our parks and streets to their intended purposes.

Shelters are part of Anaheim’s larger, comprehensive approach, which relies on creating pathways out of homelessness through shelter, transitional and permanent housing, medical care, rehabilitation and employment.

Since January 2014, we have helped more than 1,400 people off the streets of Anaheim and into lasting housing.

While outreach and case management are the only long-term solutions to homelessness, we continue to address daily impacts on residents and businesses.

Each year, the Anaheim Police Department responds to more than 13,000 calls related to homelessness.

We recently put in place around-the-clock presence in our parks with overnight security and additional park rangers and Code Enforcement officers during the day and early evening.

We also have stepped up outreach services by our Anaheim-based nonprofit partner City Net from two to five days a week.


Funding

Anaheim will also be using state and county funding to add shelter space and expand services. 

We have $7 million in dedicated state, county and city funding to address shelters and other homeless-related issues.

Additionally, the county of Orange continues to allocate homeless funding and resources countywide for emergency shelters and services. The county of Orange has $15 million in state Homeless Emergency Assistance Program money that will be used throughout the county, including in Anaheim.

To learn more about what we are doing to address homelessness, please check out our fact sheet here or visit Anaheim.net/homeless.