Anaheim to vote on state of emergency due to homeless encampment

Monday, September 11, 2017 05:34PM
Officials are considering declaring an emergency over the number of homeless people living along a popular riverbed trail.


ANAHEIM, Calif. - The growing homeless encampment along the Santa Ana riverbed has reached a crisis point, according to some.

New numbers from City Net show more than 420 people, many behind Angel Stadium, call the dirt path home.

"It's getting a lot worse, because there's so many people out here from different areas. There's people out here from LA," said Dwayne Erickson, who lived on the riverbed for 10 months.

Erickson recently moved. He said it's getting out of control, and city council member Kris Murray agrees.

She has filed a resolution to declare a state of emergency related to homelessness. Murray said the priority is to restore law and order, then to provide services.

Activists agree there's a crisis, but say this approach criminalizes the homeless.

"It's more of a justification to clear people out of the riverbed who actually have nowhere else to go than a justification for providing more resources," said Eve Garrow, a homelessness policy analyst for the ACLU.

The proposal comes as the county implements a $750,000 program to clear the riverbed -- most of it going toward City Net, which provides several resources.

Murray said this is building on those efforts. "We won't be successful in a long-term capacity if we aren't all pulling together, we aren't all working together," Murray said.

While officials look for the best solution, people who live here want them to remember the real crisis.

"There are families out here who are really struggling and they don't have anywhere else to go," said one resident.

The council is prepared to vote on the resolution Tuesday.
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