Kris Murray: Declare Citywide State of Emergency To Deal With Homeless Crisis

Big A camp 7 AB featResidents, businesses, and visitors to Anaheim are witnessing an escalating crisis dramatically affecting our neighborhoods and recreation areas. As city leaders, we have heard from residents and advocates alike from all over the city. And those voices are growing louder.

The time for action is NOW. Our residents are demanding action and they deserve our assurance that their neighborhoods are safe and their families are secure. We are compassionate to those living in homelessness and we must take swift action to address this escalating human health crisis. Providing amenities along the riverbed that create a sense permanency to these encampments is not the answer.

Our message must be clear:

• Those who want help will get it;
• Those who refuse help must leave;
• Our laws will be enforced;
• The health and safety of all our residents will be protected.

It is not compassionate to enable this way of life – we should be working together to find housing and services for those who seek it. And it is past time to end the crime and drug-use in our parks and trails. Together, we can practice courageous leadership to serve the vulnerable and give our parks and public spaces back to the people of Anaheim.

At last night’s council meeting, I called for a complete package of services and action to come back in two weeks time. Operation Home Safe would include declaring a citywide State of Emergency to address the escalating human crisis in Anaheim and activate a wide variety of additional services.

A State of Emergency

Councilwoman Kris Murray

Councilwoman Kris Murray

At last night’s council meeting, I requested Operation Home Safe come back in two weeks to address the escalating human health crisis in Anaheim — particularly along the county riverbed. In the past year, the encampments have grown and a sense of permanence has taken root. There is ongoing criminal activity, drug use, prostitution, and disease that is putting those who live in these encampments and those who live nearby at increasing risk.

Operation Home Safe would declare a state of emergency in our city and will provide comprehensive services and aid to the homeless population in our area, as well as concurrent expansion of local enforcement of the riverbed and public spaces to eliminate the health and safety risks to all Anaheim and county residents. I’ve asked for this program to be considered for approval at our next council meeting on September 12, 2017 with implementation to take place within 30 days following that date.

Operation Home Safe, if approved by council, will include the following:

Support: Build on successful collaboration with County of Orange, CityNet, neighboring city partners, and all social service agencies, local volunteers, faith-based, non-profit, and business groups to provide comprehensive assistance and shelter to those living in the riverbed or in the public right-of-way.

Aid: Provide notice to individuals camped illegally, indicating that aid will be provided for those who desire assistance with the goal of helping every homeless individual find permanent housing or shelter and ongoing service assistance depending on their individual needs.

Fair warning: Upon the noticed deadline, City will enforce an immediate cease and desist order with the support of county and city law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of the riverbed and public spaces for all residents.

Enforcement: Lastly, the City of Anaheim, working collaboratively with county and neighboring city officials, will take jurisdiction and assist with the expense and enforcement to end criminal activity in the riverbed and open spaces that border the city.

Neighbors Coming Together
To make this happen, we need EVERYONE in Anaheim working together. Residents who are concerned about the state of our neighborhoods, public parks and river trails, please make your voices heard.

Please, send a letter, or email the Mayor and City Council at council@anaheim.net or come to the council meeting on September 12th.

By providing comprehensive and restorative services to the homeless, with concurrent enforcement of all health and safety laws, together we can reclaim the riverbed and surrounding neighborhoods for all residents in Anaheim and Orange County.

42 comments

  1. THANK YOU, Your plan is exactly what we need , We have had enough talk a plan with action and conclusion to this expanding problem in our city will finally be clarified.

    • This plan is NO different than we have right no. “You must leave”? Oh well then , end of problem, why didn’t we think of this before? Those that want help will get it? Yes, providing not too many people want help because there ARE NOT ENOUGH BEDS FOR ALL oF THEM. Please post Murray’s private number so we can all call when all of these displaced people show up in our parks or better yet Kris can open up her home like her supporters have suggested of Mayor Tait. Hate to say it but this is political grand standing getting her base fired up for another election.

  2. If the County owns the land, I hope Anaheim sues them for the cost of cleaning up the bike trails. They should be ashamed. The County needs to take care of their property.

    Using the County’s logic, ever property owner in Anaheim could establish a criminal-infested tent city on their front yard, without fear of code enforcement action or penalty.

    • Brenda you are so right!
      As a property owner in Anaheim, I get a citation if my front yard becomes tall weeds. Or I get a citation if I use my sprinklers on the wrong day. Or I would get arrested if someone runs a bike chop-shop on my front yard, full of stolen bikes.
      The County is the property owner along the river. The City needs to demand that they do their job and maintain their own property. Or the City should issue the County citations.
      The Board of Supervisors cannot lie about addressing this river camping problem and then not even maintain their own property.
      Congratulations Murray for making the City do something to protect those of us in Anaheim that pay rent or pay a mortgage. And not just protect those living illegally along the river.

  3. Anaheim homeowner

    I’m thankful for Kris! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. What will be done with the service-resistant when law enforcement goes in to clear the area?

  5. Nice work Kris, Lets see how the rest of the Council goes along with this.

    Get the buses ready.

  6. Thank you Kris. Your plan is fair and reasonable. All residents of the County will benefit by having access to the bike trail again.

  7. I am glad the city has a plan to fix the issue of the growing amount of homeless around the river bed. I hope that the city gives every person there a rightful and fair chance to change their life. Please help the individuals struggling get back on their feet and please do not “punish them for their actions” by suing them etc as some have it very difficult and do not have a choice.

  8. I hope the city truly implements this plan. I no longer feel safe in my neighborhood. I can no longer ride my bike down the river bed without fear of being approached. My children cannot play in the park without finding needles and liquor bottles. I cannot park my car in a grocery parking lot or stop at a stoplight without someone approaching me for money. Unfortunately, I feel like for every one person out there that truly wants and needs help there are three people out there wanting to scam or take advantage of me. So, yes let’s help those who want help and ask the rest to move on.

  9. This is exactly what we need!! Thank you, Kris Murray!!

  10. Thank you it is about time!! I don’t pay taxes to let this people sit on their ass! Many have no intention of getting a job this is their way of life! They need to be removed! This is absolutely ridiculous!

  11. Thank you so much for your commitment and dedication to this issue Kris. Your plan is compassionate, kind, actionable and includes accountability to all parties involved. I am a big proponent of lending a “hand-up” to those less fortunate rather than a “hand-out”. This will undoubtedly give individuals in need and providers a sense of pride, dignity and purpose. It’s a win-win solution! Thank you, in advance, Council members, for your time and consideration of Kris’s proposal.

  12. Did anyone else watch Tait try to gavel Murray down AGAIN to keep her from speaking on this issue? He and Moreno attempted to bully her and she didn’t back down one inch. Worth watching the tape. I will be emailing city council and staff to support this state of the emergency. That’s exactly what it is!

  13. This will just scatter the homeless around the city like what happened in La Palma park. Do you want the homeless at the riverbed away from your home or on the side of your house and empty lots? Expect to see the homeless in our neighborhoods, the small flood channels and rail road tracks all where the APD has no jurisdiction.

    Those are just words anyway, “…activate a wide variety of additional services.”. Where will the funding come from? The county isn’t giving up any.

    The County of Orange, CityNet, neighboring city partners, and all social service agencies, local volunteers, faith-based, non-profit, and business groups are all busy. If they had the extra time during the week then Murry’s suggestion might be workable.

    In the end I say we put Murry’s plan into action so it can hurry up and fail then we can look into real solutions rather than have 6 months of meetings over this issue.

    • We really appreciate all of your efforts on this matter, Kris..Thank You!

      For those of you who are criticising Kris or her efforts…what solutions are you proposing?

  14. I agree with kris murray’s approach and solution.

  15. Coming from 31 years in City Goverment (neighboring city) this is a very sad state of affairs. I have always had pride in being an Anaheim resident. However what has happened to our great city is very sad. I walk the park on La Palma and have walked the riverbed, but it has become a bit scary. We need to find a solution to the homeless, especially where there are children involved, such as in Yorba Regional Park. Please take to heart what Kris is saying. I know most of the homeless are by Angel Stadium, but they are now camping in the riverbed and drainage ditch just off the 91 fwy and Imperial. It’s only a matter of time before this area becomes like the camps by Angel Stadium. Thanks.

  16. I say we withhold our property taxes in November and see how that goes!

    I admire the residents that went to visit Council Member Faessel at his home – while I am not advocating that we all do that with our individual representatives for every issue , I believe this action plus the signatures is totally justified and got things moving at City Hall.

    We only dodged a ‘bullet ‘ with the lawyers timely letter…

    Folks bought into this City, invested their hard earned dollars and now they’re in danger on a daily basis- what a way to treat the taxpayers in this City of kindness!

    Enough already!

  17. Someone told me service resistant transients were created in Vern Nelson’s laboratory.

  18. Indeed, it seems as though our city leaders have forgotten about the safety of working residents and their school age children. We need community based action and enforcement of city and county ordinances immediately. I agree with one comment that “kindness” is not being applied to tax paying residents.

  19. As a business owner in the area, I’ve watched the southwest side deteriorate to the point of which I have considered relocating my business out of here.
    It’s been in business since 1960, and now without any assistance of the Police Dept. Violent, drug dealers and homeless rule the streets. It’s pure insanity

  20. When will Donna Acevedo and Vern Nelson come clean about Vern’s felony DUI arrest in April 2016. She was a candidate for city council on a pro-transparency ticket. Hypocrite

  21. The city of Anaheim definitely has to do something about the hopelessness and their camping in the trails and the river beds it looks very bad to visitors of the city of Anaheim something should have been done when it all started !it is going to get worse for rents keep going up plz city of Anaheim do something and do it quick!!thank you kris !!!

  22. Thank you so much!!!! I, along with many many others, are very grateful for your leadership and for taking action in this state of emergency. This is true community leadership.

  23. Hope you get the support you need from the Council. With you.

  24. I live technically homeless in a motorhome …. total of 4 family members in all ….I have a lot on my plate I have been supporting my family of three for the last 9 years now…. more recently family of four because of my two-year-old son….I have been fired from my employment of 15 years (Disneyland Resort) due to life circumstances & situations but I have been reinstated recently…….been working for 10 weeks straight now….I don’t want to get off track again…
    We are still currently homeless living in an motorhome on public industrial Street… being ran off by the police at least twice a week which cost a lot of gas money…… we have been on the streets for the past two years now…. April 2008 we were in a critical car accident which caused me to have surgery knee surgery. Then again
    In August 2009, when my daughter was 2 months old…my fiance, now my husband currently, had been in a serious motorcycle accident, he broke his pelvis in three palaces, cut his knee to the bone had 13 staples in each incision also put him in a wheelchair for six months, which has caused permanent, brain & physical damage…. most recent critical car accidents… where the car has been completely totaled….
    * June 18th 2016 – Toyota Prius 2004
    Drunk driver hit Tim (husband) 60 mph

    * April 22, 2017- Hyundai Santa Fe 2004
    Old lady hit Tim & KIDS -Melinda & Emmit- my children

    * July 20th, 2017 Subaru Forester 2001- my husband and children
    Three car pile up, tourist / foreigners don’t know how to drive. There was a witness that spoke to police….

    None of these accidents have been our fault…These are our most recent accidents, there have been more previously accidents that were not so serious in total 10 total car accidents..I have been working on trying to get SSI-DI for him for 1 1/2 years now…..
    My current income does not completely pay all of our bills… we go to churches to receive food donations.. occasionally we have to use bus vouchers from organizations that donate them to us… call (714)909-8303

  25. Why did mayor tait wait until over 40 people spoke on the River Trail portable restrooms to disclose the letter that would prevent them from placing the portable restrooms on any part of the river trail. Why did he allow one speaker to interrupt constantly yet Kris Murray was gaveled. This majority is really showing their bias.

  26. Looking forward to meeting with you kris to discuss your call to action, which the county set into motion June 6 th. I also appreciate your leadership, staying focused on sustainable solutions. Since July 1 the county efforts have exited ~40 people from theflood control channel, no one jurisdiction can solve this without the cooperation from all its neighboring jurisdictions. This is the primary cause and effect of this congregation of our most vulnerable in this location

  27. I just watched the REPLAY of the meeting.

    For sure the HOMELESS PROBLEM should be the centerpiece of the TAIT LEGACY.

    Under his so called “Kindness” initiative, we’ve watched Dali Lama host an event at the Honda Center, TOM TAIT front and center, The Holiness ride to JWA in a Limousine with TOM TAIT where he boarded a G5 JET (Think criminal minds lear jet) and meanwhile people STARVE on the riverbed.

    Let’s post some pictures of Tom and Julie’s OPULENT fund raisers, Heck, let’s POST their ADDRESS Maybe Tom TAIT and JOSE MORENO want to welcome the “poor homeless” in their yards.

  28. For the same reason he got wasted at a charity event twelve years ago?

  29. HLarry Herschler

    Now let’s see if there is follow up. Using the quick math 45 days or so to a clean river trail. Keep pushing Kris. Compassion comes in all sizes and if offered it should be accepted. If not tough love is and should be expected. Best wishes

  30. With respect, Ms. Murray has been in her position for 10 years and is up for re-election in 2018. As with all policy-making officials, this problem flourished in their tenure and is a problem absent in cities where these representatives live. Arrogance continues where they stack and hide votes. These officials have exposed Anaheim residents and businesses to health risks; crime; stagnant/deteriorating property values; restriction to public paid spaces and reduced quality of life, all because of their lack of action and enforcement. I shop in neighboring cities as I am tired of being approached at every turn by panhandlers and seeing street vendors pushing free taxpayer phones, so add loss of revenue to the list. Anaheim Officials and the Board of Supervisors have created a problem that disrupts OUR lives, resources and finances, so no Thank You’s here – just a demand to clean up the problem they have cultivated.

    • Stand For Anaheim

      Sherri-

      Ms. Murray has been in her position for seven years. She is termed out and not up for re-election. Research the facts before, please…

  31. The homelessness all around us is getting worse and to be honest this makes me feel very nervous and frustrated. I see the encampments along the Santa Ana riverbed as I drive to work and it has only grown in size over time. I see numerous people panhandling when I go shopping and since I usually grocery shop alone it does frighten me. It’s upsetting to realize that there’s no one agency stepping forward to figure out all the dynamics needed to solve this problem in a compassionate and humane way. When these encampments are removed where do these people and families move to?? Is there unoccupied county land that can be utilized as a “campground” for occupied motor homes for those who need a place to park there vehicle without incurring tickets/harassment? Why isn’t there a county and city liaison panel to address this together so that ALL of Orange County follow set practices and guidelines to actually help those people. Is there a possibility of mental health issues involved? If so how can we bring help and aid these people so they’re not falling through the cracks. Just thinking about all of this is overwhelming, frustrating, and upsetting. I look forward to Councilwoman Kris Murray’s further actions. Be assured that we are watching the homeless crisis closely.

  32. All great ideas but where will you send them to the town next door? Always we are upset with such things and it reduces property value but we forget the human element. The only answer on the table is to shift our problem to another city or put them on buses and ship them somewhere else… what other answer has any one come up with? Ticket them well they have no money and most have mental illness or drug abuse. So this is just more noise till some one has a real solution.

  33. I support your plan. Hope you will come to the meeting on the 7th with the mayor and council member Faessel for the east side neighbors. I know it is mostly for district 5 but come as my guest.

  34. jerry weintraub jr

    Tink’s Scent Bombs are easy to use. Just open one of these bottles, saturate the wick, and hang the whole works in a tree to put more scent in the air. Perfect for any homeless encampment, weird dogs, or psychotic ferrets..

  35. What a wonderful plan. The Fountain Valley City Council should look at this plan instead of referring us to the Police Dept. or the City Manager. The riverbed behind my community is disgusting with the encampment growing.

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