Operation Home S.A.F.E Approved: Reclaiming The Santa Ana River Trail and Our Neighborhoods

At last night’s Anaheim City Council Meeting, Operation Home S.A.F.E. passed unanimously, declaring a citywide state of emergency and putting in motion an action plan to work with the County of Orange, neighboring cities, and non-profit partners to address the public health conditions and unlawful activity resulting from escalating homeless encampments.

I am grateful to the Mayor and my council colleagues who were united in support of this comprehensive action plan – building on good work that is ongoing at the city and county, and taking additional steps to respond with urgency to protect residents and those living with homelessness. Operation Home S.A.F.E. is focused on safe, sanitary shelter and services, as well as enforcement of our laws.

My appreciation also goes out to the Orange County Board of Supervisors who unanimously approved a framework for an immediate and robust public safety plan for the Santa Ana River Trail; in addition to significant new community services that were adopted several weeks ago. Third District Supervisor Todd Spitzer spoke at last night’s council meeting to express his personal commitment and the county’s strong support for solving this crisis.

The city received hundreds of letters, emails, phone calls and many attended recent council meetings and community meetings to express their support for Operation Home S.A.F.E.. More than 13,500 residents have signed a petition urging the City Council to take action to restore public safety.

With Operation Home S.A.F.E., the City of Anaheim is committed to action now and to long-term solutions that will benefit all who live, work and visit our city.

How Did We Get Here
According to the Orange County Office of Care Coordination’s most recent assessment, 422 people are living in encampments on the Flood Control Channel between Chapman and Ball Road along the Anaheim border. The numbers are escalating and we must respond now for the safety of those who live there and neighboring communities. To read the full report, click here.

  • 54% Increase of homeless individuals along the Flood Control Channel since 2015
  • 50% struggle with disability or health issue of some kind
  • 42% identify as having a mental health concern
  • Nearly 30% said they were released from jail or prison in last year* 
   *August 2017 CityNet FCC Census 

Community Voices
Residents, businesses, and visitors to Anaheim are witnessing an escalating crisis dramatically affecting 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.

  • 79% of County residents say homeless situation is biggest issue facing the county
  • Nearly 14,000 Anaheim residents have signed a petition urging the council to take immediate action
  • Hundreds of phone calls, letters and public comment at council meetings
  • 479 e-mail messages to the City Council

A Plan for Action
Passage of Operation Home S.A.F.E. declared a state of emergency in Anaheim and provides comprehensive services and aid to the homeless population in our area, as well as concurrent expansion of local law enforcement of the flood control channel and public spaces to eliminate the health and safety risks to all Anaheim and county residents.

The plan requires the City of Anaheim to:

  • Declare a State of Emergency
  • Work with County of Orange to expedite 100 additional beds at the Anaheim shelter, Bridges at Kraemer Place
  • Call for armories to be reactivated during winter months
  • Create temporary, emergency shelter for up to 500 beds
  • Negotiate joint law enforcement with the County of Orange
  • Restore and repair property and fencing along the riverbed
  • Implement a Community Triage Day to connect the homeless with services
  • Enforce all municipal codes and laws

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.

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