Blog Archives

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Mister_Rogers'_NeighborhoodIf the Fourth of July fireworks at Tustin High School last week were not enough for you, try coming to this Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The topic of discussion, of course, will be the growing community of homeless living next to the Tustin Library. I’d compare it to the tent camp along the Santa Ana Riverbed except it isnt nearly that size – or that filthy.

The camp has become a source of concern, discussion and -in some cases- entertainment on the local website, Nextdoor.com, a sort of local email/blog where anyone can start a discussion on just about anything they like. Over two dozen people have contributed over 300 comments on the homeless encampment alone.

It all started several months ago when the Tustin Branch Library was suddenly shuttered for repairs after suffering massive water damage. Although officials said the water damage was minimal and the library would re-open in a few week, it remains shuttered two and a half months later. The library itself is a county issue and the city has little power to move things along.

Shortly after the closure, a few homeless began hanging out in the area. With no one to bother them, they eventually set up a dozen tents, mostly in the plaza next to the library, and remained low key. With little traffic in the area, they went pretty much unnoticed on a daily basis.

That all changed about a month ago when citizens came, en mass, to the June 20th city council meeting to ask the city what they planned to do about it. The city council listened to concerns but was unable to address the situation because the subject wasn’t on the agenda.

Surprisingly, the city is responding with restraint. City Manager Jeff Parker said that a solution would be to declare the area around the library a city park, allowing police to arrest campers. “But, that doesn’t seem morally appropriate.” We agree, of course, as it won’t solve the problem. The city recently put a “Homelessness” button on the front page of their website.

Tustin has never had a very large homeless population (the staff report pegs it at two dozen). Prior to the library encampment, most of them hung around Peppertree Park and the Old Town area. Closing down the encampment will just push them back onto the streets and into our neighborhoods. The city claims they regularly try to provide comprehensive services but, frankly, most of the homeless camped there (yes, I stopped by and dropped of water on a hot day) are not interested in services or alternatives to their lifestyle.

For the time being, the encampment may be the best way to handle the situation. At the very least, the homeless are pretty much in one location. Concerns over drug and alcohol use are minimal, although arrests for both have been made. The police check the area regularly and, unlike the Santa Ana Riverbed encampment, the place is clean – I daresay, neat and tidy. Some residents have opined that moving them to an industrial area and providing sanitary services would solve the problem. The trouble is, the homeless may not agree. And contrary to what some would like, they can’t just be rounded up and shipped out.

In any case, if you are one of the two dozen or so folks who have made their feelings known on the neighborhood blog, you will have the opportunity to address our city council on the matter this Tuesday at 7pm. You may want to get there early and, if you forget your water, you can probably bum a bottle from one of the homeless camped out back.

 

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Operation Warm Wishes – Community Potluck

Jackson Potluck Flyer

Join our favorite local celeb, Tyron Jackson, as he presents another Warm Wishes event in Peppertree Park. Jackson and his hearty band of volunteers will be feeding “the homeless, families in need, troubled youth, those suffering from various illnesses and anyone in need of good food and good company.” This is a trademark event for Jackson who has made it his mission in life to make sure the forgotten are not forgotten. You don’t have to be homeless or needy to come to his events but you do have to have a good heart and a willingness to be with others of like mind. Jackson emphasizes the need for folks to just be there for others. The food and company are great. So, come on out and join Tyron for another great event.

Operation Warm Wishes a Huge Success

We admit it. Tyron Jackson is one of our heroes. We recently ran into him at our local Starbucks where he excitedly told me about his next project, Operation Warm Wishes. Here we are a few days later and Tyron reports batting a thousand. We’ll let tell you about it:

Saturday after the event-
Started my morning by delivering clothes and blankets to various organizations, shelters and to our homeless friends in need. I ended the day by treating some of our homeless friends to dinner at Wienerschnitzel. We had a great time eating chili cheese curly fries and ice cream. We laughed we encouraged each other and we reminded each other that homeless or not homeless God loves us and he has a plan for each of our lives. It was great!


I share this with you because, today happened because of your outstanding donations of food, clothing, blankets, toys and books at the Operation Warm Wishes Presents:“ I Love to Give! I Love to Read! Food and Book Drive for families and children in need!

Yesterday I was full of joy and emotion. I was trying not to cry, then I finally did. To see a person smile for the first in months, touched me. To see single dads and mom’s who walked miles to donate canned good or to get books for kids, touched me. To see students give other students hope, touched me. To see the community coming together to help and serve our friends and families in need, touched me. And because we came together! Together we made a difference.

Once again thank you to EVERYONE young and old who donated and collected food, clothing, blankets toys and books. Thank you to Starbucks Coffee for opening your doors and allowing us to hang out at the coffee shop as we helped our friends and families in need. Thank you to all the amazing volunteers! You truly touched hearts. Today a homeless friend, who attended yesterday’s event, told me that he laughed for the first time in months while playing a board game. He left feeling encouraged. Thank for touching lives.

-Tyron

Here are a few photos he shared with me:

OWW002 OWW004 OWW005 OWW011

Operation Warm Wishes Brings Home to the Homeless

Operation Warm WishesEvery year for the past few years, Tustin’s own Tyron Jackson has rolled out the red carpet for the less fortunate in Our Town Tustin. This year, on Thanksgiving Day, Tyron and his volunteers will be in Peppertree Park, once again, to bring a Thanksgiving feast to Tustin’s less fortunate with Operation Warm Wishes.

From noon to 5 pm this Thursday, our homeless, families in need, senior citizens, troubled youth and simply anyone who wants to share a great Thanksgiving dinner with their neighbors, can join Jackson, no strings attached.

This is going to be an amazing event for the whole family and community, all to help those in need.You’re invited! Come and be served! For more information please call, 714 363-6621 .

Jackson promises a spectacular time for everyone who attends. There will be food and entertainment for the fifth year in a row. From what I hear, Denny’s has donated mashed potatoes and Trader Joe’s has donated the gravy. Redhill Elementary school has also helped with a food drive aimed at Operation Warm Wishes.

Tyron Jackson is no stranger to the community, particularly the homeless and less fortunate. He holds several events a year to promote awareness of homelessness, mental illness and to support the less fortunate in our community. Sock drives are a particular forte of his and he was recently seen passing out blankets and other cold weather items to help keep them warmer on these recently chilly nights.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I have so much to do,….. I have the entire family coming over,……. Homeless? We don’t have homeless in Tustin (yes, we do)…..” But, how hard would it be and how much time  would it take to stop by Peppertree Park and let Tyron know how great it is that he does this? You might even feel the urge to share slice of pie with his friends.

Happy Thanksgiving. Oh, and in case you were wondering, no boring Planning Commission meeting this week. The City Council meets on December 3rd for what will probably be (with any luck) their last meeting of the year.