Anaheim’s homeless are missing bus stop benches some had used to rest on. The city recently removed the benches from areas surrounding the iconic Disneyland theme park in an effort to push back against the increasing homeless population.
The city of Anaheim began removing benches at bus stops in areas around Disneyland, according to the Orange County Register. City spokesman Mike Lyster stated that homeless use of the benches as beds and for illegal activity was common at the bus stop shelters. He said bus riders lost the use of the benches a long time ago and that the city was doing the best it could to assist the homeless in finding shelters and long-term housing.
The Los Angeles Times reported that there has been a surge in the homeless populations of California cities including San Francisco and Los Angeles, but also in areas like Orange County, known for its wealthy population. Homeless encampments have blocked walkways in Orange County’s civic center and near the Anaheim Angels baseball stadium, according to the report.
City spokesman Mike Lyster insisted in comments to the Times that the decision came in response to safety concerns from shop and motel owners, not Disneyland or because of tourism. He told the outlet, “It breaks our heart to have to remove those benches.”
One member of the Anaheim homeless population, formerly a handyman out of Detroit, said the homeless would just sprawl on the ground in the absence of benches.
Some tourists expressed appreciation for the city’s decision on the basis that the area should be kept safe for visitors of all ages.
The Times quoted a Brooklyn man who said that he was seeing benches removed in his New York neighborhoods as well, “But punishing local communities for the actions of the homeless, who are not to blame, seems unfair.”
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