OC’s homeless had an advocate today as dozens of Catholics gathered in front of the Orange County Hall of Administration in Santa Ana, a show of support for the proposed Kraemer Multi-Service Center. The Orange County Board of Supervisors, in a special board meeting on the subject, approved by a vote of 5-0 the conversion of the property at 1000 N. Kraemer Place in Anaheim to a shelter and resource center.
More than 20 Catholic leaders representing ministries throughout the Diocese of Orange spoke to the Board of Supervisors, including Chancellor Shirl Giacomi, leaders from parishes across the county, youth ministers and the diaconate.
Greg Walgenbach, director of the Office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and a resident of Anaheim, spoke in support of the center that is intended to address the needs of those struggling with homelessness in Orange County.
“In his recent visit to Congress,” Walgenbach told the supervisors, “Pope Francis called government and society to meet the needs of those ‘trapped in a cycle of poverty.’” Walgenbach asked for a 5-0 vote in favor of the Kraemer site.
“We are not here to judge anyone’s individual motives,” Walgenbach said, “but rather to say that county action to move forward and solve this problem is long overdue. It’s time for a multi-service center to address this crisis in our community.”
The center will be a year-round emergency shelter and multi-service center that will serve up to 200 sheltered guests. Proposed services include healthcare, mental healthcare, employment and housing navigation services, basic needs and support services and veterans support services.
Those in attendance gathered at 8:30 a.m. for a prayer vigil, hymns and various readings on homelessness including Pope Francis’ address to the U.S. Congress, comments from St. John Paul II and scripture readings.