In his first act following his swearing in, Mayor Harry Sidhu is calling an emergency city council meeting for Thursday, December 6 to take up the city’s need for temporary homeless shelter beds as an interim step pending completion 325 shelter beds as part of the previously authorized Center of Hope and Piano store shelters.
Sidhu said it would be an “interim solution towards helping these individuals get into a safe place to stay, receive services and to start getting back on their feet.”
Since the two newly-authorized shelters will not be available until February 2019 at the earliest, Sidhu wants to immediately bring emergency beds online.
“These individuals, these human beings, are camping in our parks and public spaces,” said Sidhu. “This is not good for them, it is not good for the neighborhoods.”
Santa Ana brought a sufficient number homeless beds online to allow it to enforce its anti-camping ordinance, which it began doing over the weekend. Other adjacent cities are or will be doing the same. One side effect is “service resistant” homeless people – faced with a choice between going to a shelter or being arrested for violating anti-camping laws – will migrate to cities where enforcement is still constrained by federal Judge David O. Carter.
Sidhu broached that possibility while explaining the need for the emergency council meeting
“And with some nearby cities opening up their new shelter to comply with Judge Carter’s orders, we could be seeing more homeless people, more homeless individuals coming into Anaheim – where we do not have the right today, under the court order, to enforce our anti-camping and anti-littering laws,” said Sidhu.
Citing the oncoming inclement weather, Sidhu said it is “human tragedy that these fellow human are left to fend for themselves as best they can in our parks and public spaces.”
“Therefore I would like to convene an emergency meeting of the council this Thursday evening to address this crisis,” said Sidhu. “We need a way to fast track the creation of temporary shelter to provide a place for these people to stay now while the work is being done to open up two permanent shelters in Anaheim.”
The upshot of bringing quickly bringing sufficient beds online to comply with Judge Carter’s settlement order: Anaheim could begin enforcing its anti-camping ordinance and bring an end to the homeless encampments that have overrun city parks such as Maxwell, Twila Reid and La Palma. For residents who have been living with the blight associated with these expanding encampments, that day can’t come soon enough.