It’s been about six weeks since the homeless encampment was cleared from Maxwell park in West Anaheim. There’s little to indicate it had been home to dozens and dozens of homeless people living in tents and makeshift shelters – rendering the park unusable and presenting a threat to public health and safety:
The park is now clean and returned to its intended use, while the homeless encamped who were willing to accept re-location have been moved to the temporary emergency shelter on State College Boulevard. The unwilling were no longer allowed to live in this park or on the sidewalk.
It was a nightmarish situation for residents who lived by Maxwell Park – many of whom expressed their gratitude to the city for its quick action to reclaim Maxwell Park following the election of Mayor Harry Sidhu and the new council majority – accomplished via partnership with the Anaheim business community. Here are some examples of communications to the city from grateful residents:
My family and I wanted to send a heartfelt thank you to all who help get Maxwell Park cleaned up and to those who continue to look over it. We just moved into the neighborhood last month and during the escrow period we watched how the homeless encampment kept growing and growing. We had our doubts and so did our friends and families. Wondering if we were making the right decision or not and prayed that it wouldn’t remain like that for long. We’re so glad we didn’t back out. We absolutely love our neighborhood and Maxwell park! We didn’t even know how beautiful the park was until it was cleaned up. Our dogs love going for walks through it! We’re so grateful to everyone for helping those in need and keeping our city and neighborhoods safe. The work everyone is doing is amazing and so appreciated. We can’t thank you enough!!
Another resident expressed gratitude not only the reclamation of Maxwell Park for the enjoyment of the public, but that the homeless encamped there had been given the opportunity to reclaim their lives:
Maxwell Park is gleaming on this beautiful and soggy Tuesday morning. Well into January now, it is still clean, safe, and usable. I love taking my walks there again! The large team of City servants, including yourself, have followed through with your intentions for the park, and for the people who were living there. I cannot tell you the satisfaction and joy I have when seeing our park restored again, while knowing many of those who were formerly living on the hard cement surrounding it, are now spending their nights in the safety and comfort of the shelters.
Thank you for your tireless work, most of which is unseen. May the plans for the more permanent shelters stay on track so that Anaheim does not find herself in another lawsuit, and this terrible cycle possibly start all over again.
As residents directly across the street from the formerly named “Ground Zero” encampment, we are excited about our neighborhood’s new lease on life and the coming park improvements.
Thank you for advocating for us, for the homeless, for Maxwell Park, and for working so graciously and effectively with all the team who made this possible.
It’s important to state this was typical of what residents impacted by the Maxwell Park encampment have told me. Their desire for their city to return the park to its proper use and protect their right to the safe enjoyment of their neighborhoods, was coupled with empathy for the homeless and support for extending a helping hand to those willing to accept help in regaining self-reliance.