“Most of the individuals here have not been receptive to services and have actually declined any type of emergency or transitional shelters, any behavioral health services, or any other resources that we’ve offered to them.”
That is not a quite from some heartless, anti-homeless NIMBY, but from Gigi Zanganeh, director of programs for CityNet, the City of Anaheim’s homeless services contractor, in a city video published earlier this month regarding the homeless encampment along the 91 Freeway between Harbor and Lemon.
It represents welcome candor and highlights a question that isn’t raised enough in local policy discussions about the homeless in Orange County: what to do about homeless people who choose homelessness over help? As the Kraemer Shelter, re-housing and other resources and services gain momentum and make headway among the homeless population that desires independence and re-entry into society, the reality is a growing percentage of the homeless population will consist of what advocates euphemistically term the “service-resistant.”
An unspoken sub-text is the homeless encampments along the Santa Ana River and elsewhere – which are getting bigger and spreading – are increasingly becoming criminal villages. That, in turn, generates more crime as far as encampment inhabitants’ legs or bicycles can carry them.
More and more law-abiding, taxpaying, hard-working homeowners and business owners (and their employees) are impacted by crime and the fear of crime. The years-long “City of Kindness” campaign talks a lot about how kindness contributes to”social resilience,” which in turn contributes to strong cities. The chaos, disorder, crime and lawlessness inherent in these encampments feed social corrosion, and undermine the kind of community the kindness campaign is intended to create.
The forgotten other half of the kindness campaign is “freedom.” The freedom this country is grounded in the idea of ordered liberty, which depends on the rule of law. This encampments – and the radical ideology promoted by the ACLU and its confederates that seeks to enshrine them as a human right – corrode ordered liberty, and citizens’ faith in the efficacy of their electoral and civic institutions.
This aspect of the homelessness crisis merits greater attention and discussion in local policy forums and elections – such as the race for the 4th Supervisor District – and deserves robust discussion this Tuesday, June 20, when the Anaheim City Council discusses the city’s anti-camping ordinance.