FOX 11 In Depth: Anaheim's homeless emergency
ANAHEIM, Calif. (FOX 11) - Back in February after the Super Bowl we started broadcasting our Sunday morning show FOX 11 News In Depth. After 27 shows, it's football season again and our weekly show goes on hiatus. However, In Depth will now look weekly at stories and air in our newscasts. I want to thank you for your continued support. I look forward to continue digging in depth on stories for you and, ultimately, Season Two of our weekly show after football season. Now, an in depth look at Anaheim's State of Emergency on homelessness.
On Friday, officers from the Anaheim Police Department and the Orange County Sheriffs Department will begin a coordinated effort patrol and maintain a high profile at the tent city that lines the Santa Ana River flood control channel next to Angel Stadium.
As we rode in a supply cart driven by Matt Bates from City Net, a nonprofit service provider. said, "People shouldn't live this way." He looks forward to helping people connect with services. People like Tabitha Sage says being homeless for the last two years has been "horrible…real horrible."
She's tired of the violence at this encampment like "fights…stabbings…things like that." She says, I came out here to get a little relief and now they want to move us somewhere else."
Earlier in the week the Anaheim City Council approved a State of Emergency over the homelessness here which is a major step toward providing service and coordinating housing.
It helps with getting federal, state and local funding while the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved funding for an army of deputies to stage at the encampment starting Friday. The idea is to be a visible deterrent to crime while others work and connecting people with social services and places to live.
Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada told us, "We've already deployed officers here to supplement the task force." A task force Quezada says will be made up largely of Orange County Sheriff's deputies. Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes told FOX 11 "Our focus is going to be two-fold…get them the services and deal with the ancillary crimes we can address." He adds, "We know that our presence here is going to change the dynamics on the river bed. The simple higher visibility of law enforcement will deter some of the criminal activity.
The step-up in law enforcement is good news to neighbors who have been upset about crime committed by the homeless and the diseases and other issues that goes along with such a large camp.
Meanwhile Councilwoman Kris Murray, who pushed the State of Emergency measure through the city council says, she hopes everyone involved can help the men and women of this tent city.
Says Murray, "The bottom line is that we're here to help. We're here to do really good work and we want to make a difference in the lives of those who have ended up here for so many different reasons."