Saturday, July 15, 2017

City of Anaheim Removes Bus Benches Near Disneyland, So the Homeless Have One Less Place to Sleep

I have no recommended solution here.

After reading about homelessness, you find there are some people who don't want to be institutionalized. They don't want all the fancy rehab treatments and shelters. They want to be free, even with psychiatric problems. So, at some level you'll always have street-people. What to do? Well, for the City of Anaheim, remove more and more of the bus benches near Disneyland, lest you give the homeless too comfortable a shelter for the night.

I guess this is just one of those shake your head stories. I don't know.

At the Los Angeles Times, "While homelessness surges in Disneyland's shadow, Anaheim removes bus benches":
Sweat rolled down Ron Jackson’s face as he pondered, as he does every day just steps from “the Happiest Place on Earth,” where he would sleep.

The homeless man’s hangout in Anaheim had until recently been a grimy bus bench across the street from Disneyland.

Then, one day, the benches around the amusement park — including his regular spot outside of a 7-Eleven at Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue — disappeared.

Soon, people were competing for pavement.

“No more sleeping spot. Just concrete,” Jackson, 47, said on a sweltering day. “There were already people claiming the space.”

The vanishing benches were Anaheim’s response to complaints about the homeless population around Disneyland. Public work crews removed 20 benches from bus shelters after callers alerted City Hall to reports of vagrants drinking, defecating or smoking pot in the neighborhood near the amusement park’s entrance, officials said.

The situation is part of a larger struggle by Orange County to deal with a rising homeless population. A survey last year placed the number of those without shelter at 15,300 people, compared with 12,700 two years earlier.

Desperation amid Orange County’s riches

In a wealthy county known for suburban living and sun-dotted beaches, the signs of the homeless crisis are getting harder to ignore.

At the county’s civic center in Santa Ana, homeless encampments — complete with tents and furniture and flooring made from cardboard boxes — block walkways and unnerve some visitors. Along the Santa Ana River near Angel Stadium, whole communities marked by blue tarp have sprung up. In Laguna Beach, a shelter this summer is testing an outreach program in which volunteers walk the streets offering support and housing assistance to homeless people.

Cities across California — notably Los Angeles and San Francisco — are dealing with swelling ranks of the homeless. But officials in Orange County said most suburban communities simply don’t have the resources and experience to keep up.

Susan Price, Orange County's director of care coordination, said officials are trying to build a coordinated approach involving all of the more than 30 disparate cities that takes into account the different causes of homelessness, including economic woes, a lack of healthcare and recent reforms in the criminal justice system.

Most cities "don't have capacity to respond to all the issues of homelessness effectively. That's why we need a regional strategy,” Price said. "Every city has been grappling with this issue and not all cities are full-service so that means we need to find out what each other is doing and figure out how to combine resources.”

The homeless problem often stands in stark contrast to the perceptions many have about Orange County...
Come to think of it, though, sounds like some of the people, just drinking and smoking pot, maybe need to just get cleaned up and find a job. You can't just be bumming for handouts all the time, panhandling and causing "broken windows" style crimes. If that's so, perhaps a city crackdown is indeed a remedy.

But it's like I said, I'm not sure what to do about this. Seems like homelessness took off in the O.C. after the Great Recession hit, and it hasn't subsided much with the so-called economic recovery.

Blame the Democrats, I guess.

Still more at the link.