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The Faces of Laguna Niguel's Homeless

Numerous homeless can be seen panhandling around the city from Costco at Heather Ridge to Crown Valley Parkway.

If you drive around you will most likely see any number of homeless. In the past six months, there have been more than usual. 

Ever wonder if they have the right to beg for money?

A few months ago, before he retired, former City Manager Tim Casey, said the city of Laguna Niguel does not have a local ordinance or policy related to panhandling. 

State law prohibits aggressive panhandling (i.e. accosting persons in any public place for the purpose of begging), he said.  

In addition, he noted, state law also prohibits persons from obstructing the movement of other persons on streets or sidewalks.  

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department enforces these state laws in Laguna Niguel when necessary and applicable. 

The courts have found begging and panhandling to be forms of protected speech that cannot be summarily prohibited in public places (i.e. public sidewalks, shopping center entrances/exits and common areas), Casey said.

"The city does get occasional inquiries from residents about begging/panhandling, as well as door-to-door solicitation," he said. "As a result, the FY 11-12 City Budget included a Work Program item in the City Attorney’s Office to: 'Review law and advise City Council on alternatives to regulate door-to-door peddling, charitable solicitation and begging/panhandling in the city.'"  

The city attorney is in the process of completing this legal review, Casey said.

READ MORE ABOUT HOMELESS HERE.

Shirley January 17, 2013 at 11:35 PM
OMG, why do you question what we're writing about, as we state what we see? Now let's add something that hasn't been mentioned today...what about the people that come on buses & get dropped off & the buses pick them up later? Anyone ever think about how they get here? Anyone that gives them money is a fool, go get them a gift card from McDonalds or Taco Bell or, or, or...I've also seen them throw the cards back at the person that's giving because they want cash, real moola, the green stuff with lots of numbers on the face of the bills. Hey anyone want to guess their take in a few hours? Try $600.00. Now keep handing it out !!!
Tom W. January 18, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Something should be done. They beg on busy street intersections (more money for them) and they interfere with the traffic flow and divert attention of the drivers that are gawking at them. A woman lives in her trailer behind the 24 hour fitness in Aliso Viejo. I have told her, and called the police, that she is not safe and opens herself up to bodily harm. She said Coast Hills is the place that gave her the idea. Pls don't give them money, it does not help them but encourages them to continue to beg. There are food pantries, social service agencies, and other non profit organization that will help them help themselves. Many people don't want to put in the effort but would rather take the lazy route and beg. Also, what is the world are they doing with animals? If they can't even take care of themselves, how are they caring for animals? Pets need shots and good food. What happens when the animals require care? I hope Laguna Niguel does pass an ordinance that prohibits begging in our community.
bbq January 18, 2013 at 04:15 AM
Shirley, Why are you so upset that I asked if anyone had seen iphones & cars? I see these (alleged) homeless every day and have never seen either - not to say it doesn't exist, but I will keep my eyes open. Maybe Debbie can interview some of them and take a poll as to how many have iphones and cars and how many are really homeless vs. how many are frauds.
bbq January 18, 2013 at 04:22 AM
Do these people really bother you that much? Are they harming you in any way, or is it that they are offensive in your (probably Christian) eyes? Until you have walked in their shoes you should not judge. There but for the grace of God, go you (and I). People have problems. Many are mentally ill.
Shirley January 18, 2013 at 05:40 AM
bbq Do you expect these people to tell you the truth, just you off the street asking questions? Good luck! Me upset, yes, when you questioned what I said I saw & what others here are writing they have seen. Not very intelligent to ask what people have actually seen!!!
Shirley January 18, 2013 at 05:47 AM
Thanks Bob, many on this thread feel the same way you do. I find it disgusting that these people are bussed in to stand on a corner & beg...so many tricks are pulled having their dog with them or their entire family with them, does anyone have an answer for what that is SUPPOSED to be saying? Whatever it is, I don't fall for it. I've been approached in parking lots & I get very loud...
bbq January 18, 2013 at 06:10 AM
Shirley, I heard a saying many years ago: Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.
Barbara Kimler January 18, 2013 at 03:34 PM
I coordinate a dinner for homeless at Faith Episcopal Church in Laguna Niguel held every Wednesday night and I can tell you first-hand that many of these individuals are wonderful human beings and are indeed homeless and tyring to improve their circumstances.
ted bradley January 18, 2013 at 08:53 PM
debbie did u delete jake friedmans comment? is something being hidden?
Paul w January 18, 2013 at 10:30 PM
I've become somewhat jaded to many of these individuals because I've seen the reality of their situation, in more than one case. Sometimes they play homeless but in reality drive a car to get there and have a place to stay. I can't stand the people who play on others' emotions so that they can get their drink on and are too lazy to really seek help. My last straw came at the Albertson's in Laguna Niguel, where I bought a lady diapers and baby food because she was begging for money. Her baby had no shirt on and was crying. I took pitty and I was taken. I called the police because I was worried for the mother and was told that I was scammed.
bbq January 18, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Ted, They did not post two comments I made responding to Shirley. I will try again. Hoping it's not censorship, especially since I said nothing against the terms of service. I basically answered Shirley's telling me it was not intelligent to question that people writing here said they saw the "homeless" with iphones and cars with, it would not be intelligent of me to just take strangers at their word either. Why wouldn't that be posted?
bbq January 18, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Why is my comment still pending after 1 1/2 hours? Would you Email me, Debbie and tell me what the problem is in my postings? thanks.
NJ January 19, 2013 at 09:02 AM
Case studies have found that full time pan handlers can make up to 23,000 a year, tax free. Interesting.,,
NJ January 19, 2013 at 09:04 AM
You can't expect for them to give up their vehicles or phones. They once were employed as we are/were and need a car for transportation and perhaps to sleep in.
Tom W. January 21, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Now I get why you are whining about your comments not being posted. Attacking Christians is a hate crime. Educate yourself instead of being judgmental and ignorant.
bbq January 22, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Tom W., Don't be ridiculous. Who is attacking Christians? Hate crime? Ha, ha! So, so, so many people, claiming to be Christian, are the ones who are completely intolerant of others. I hear the hypocrisy all the time (check out the LGBT comments on another Patch thread whose comments have reached over 700). Not whining, just wondering if there is some censorship going on here.
bbq January 23, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Why is my comment still pending after 9 hours??
hernibs January 30, 2013 at 04:15 AM
thank you bbq...my mother always told me not to judge someone until I walked in their shoes...obviously by reading these posts, most of these people's mother's didn't teach them compassion...such a sorry statement of so many of the people who live in the OC...
hernibs January 30, 2013 at 04:16 AM
thank you for your compassion and the work that you do Barbara. It is refreshing to see someone on here with compassion for fellow humans
hernibs January 30, 2013 at 04:17 AM
SO Paul because you had an experience with one bad apple, that makes everyone a bad apple...hmmmmm
Paul w January 31, 2013 at 05:32 AM
hernibs, If I were talking about one bad apple, I wouldn't get up here and comment. I've had several "bad apples" and the one I mentioned took the cake. I'll still give money once in a while but I'm much more of a doubter than I was before.
hernibs January 31, 2013 at 05:13 PM
so sorry that you have become so bitter Paul w....I hope you never find yourself down and out and in their position....and remember never say never
hernibs February 01, 2013 at 02:18 AM
I do not understand why these people bother other people so much. How can begging be a crime if there are people willing to give the beggar money and why does that bother people who obviously are not reaching in their pockets?
hernibs February 01, 2013 at 02:22 AM
they also may need to have a phone so that a prospective employer can call them....and FYI you can purchase used phones or even get an IPHONE for 0 dollars with a contract....people, don't judge other people, you don't know their story...
Paul w February 01, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Hernibs, maybe that's because you have your head burried in sand about the nature of some people. If you blindly give money to everyone who asks for it, maybe you meed to re-think it. I volunteer my time to help Laguna Beach homeless and others, how about you? Do you volunteer your time hernibs? Or do you just give your money to all who ask and then other people because they don't do the same? Whatever the case may be herib, maybe it should'nt affect you so much...
Paul w February 01, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Hernibs, you seem to have a deep concern about the "compassion" of others, towards those in need. I wonder if you hold yourself to the same standards that you seem to expect from everyone else? If so, why don't you share?
Cody Miller November 18, 2013 at 08:57 PM
First off, what does Laguna Niguel mean to the author of this article? Yes, California's real estate is ubiquitous, asphyxiating, and most likely a "reason for living". But, I grew up a surfer and my entire persona was built around being a surfer. The surfing business was burgeoning when I was a kid and the draft had ended, and 'athletes' were deified. Real Estate was simply a means to accomplish whatever project it was that was being worked on at that time which happened to be (for me) progressing athletically. I've understood as an adult, after being educated and after being empitted by impecunity, that "homelessness" isn't the proper term for "a person bereft of the funds they need", that this person has been termed "indigent". For instance, here in Orange County(California) "Medical Services for Indigents" is available. I know that in other states not having a home must mean "freezing to death", but this definitely is not the case in California. Its my understanding that the occurance of persons here having difficulties with others "begging" is most likely due to developmental disabilities that have been created by occupations they've embodied as lifestyles instead of occupations. If a person is having trouble with the freedom of others that are impecunious, sociopathically, it definitely shouldn't be the impecunious person taking a wrap for that person's problem, their shortcoming. The person's employer, a City Manager, or even the California's Governor ought to be who that person reaches out to as opposed to that person being able to emotionally distress someone already overtly vulnerable sociologically. "Misuse of 911" is against the law, and conspiracy, stalking and harassment also are crimes, trying to oppress others financially is also defined as criminal. "Accost" is a very strong term, but having to communicate to another about this particular "action" around begging, and the results of the communication, shouldn't be difficult for an officer or business keeper to handle, their business's property and occupations are well defined. Its not "a small world after all" and the streets of Laguna Niguel's aren't Disneyland's. The notion of not being able to beg for my life when financially challenged is incensing and potentially horrifying. I know that 'Color Of Law" issues are serious, and when impecunious, being confronted with color of law issues is like someone asking you to call the marines for a platoon that employs a lawyer and filmographer; its demented, despicable, and absurd to listen to, to be confronted with, and totally incensing. -concerned citizen of the U.S.A.
Sandra Rosen January 10, 2014 at 10:06 AM
It's been a year since this article was posted. Can you provide an update about the status of the ordinances being reviewed and if panhandling can be eliminated?
Jennifer Finn April 16, 2014 at 06:06 PM
I know that it's been awhile since anyone has commented or this article has been updated, but I have a point to make that a lot of people here seem to be overlooking. First, let me state that I am female, in my 20s, and currently homeless. I do not drink (though I am legally old enough to), and I don't do drugs of any sort. My mom kicked me out because she "didn't like how I was living my life" (after almost quitting a job because of her manipulation, I stopped sharing anything about my personal life with her, and she didn't like it-I eventually had to quit anyways because of school) just before the spring semester of school started, causing me to drop all of my classes. I used the little bit of money I had saved up for books and from selling everything I own of value, and bought a van (beat up, ugly, and old, but it runs and drives). I loaded it up with all of my remaining worldly possessions since anything I left behind would be sold or donated, and have been living out of it ever since. I spend the majority of my time job hunting, and have even had a couple interviews. I got myself set up with food stamps so I don't have to worry about food as much, but without a place to cook it gets pricey if I want to eat anything other than cup of noodles and junk food. I do my best to stay clean and presentable and out of the way. The trouble is, I need cash and soon. The van that is my home and possess all of my belongings could be towed at any moment as the previous owner was way behind on registration (part of why it was so cheap). Also, in the course of job hunting, I've almost used all of my gas. Both of these things require cash. I've never panhandled in my life, personally I hate asking anyone for money. I've been trying to hold out until I get a job and can pay for these things with money I've earned for myself. I don't know how much longer I can wait on getting a job, and might have no other choice than to beg. Well, that or go into prostitution, which I think I would rather freeze or starve to death first. My overall point here, please don't judge until you know the situation that the person is in. Yes, there are people out there who will abuse the system or any help given them, whether it be for drugs, alcohol, or just sheer laziness of getting a job. But there are also many like me, who got dealt a crap hand and are doing our best to get out of it whatever way we can, even if it means begging.
Barbara Kimler April 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM
Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story. Have you been to iHOPE in San Clemente? A social worker named Ladeshia would be more than happy to look at your situation and connect you with resources. Their website is www.ihopeoc.org and they are operating out of a temporary site : 190 Avenida La Pata, San Clemente, CA 92673 or call (949) 388-3633. You may know that there is a dinner every Wednesday night at Faith Episcopal Church (27802 El Lazo, Laguna Niguel) where we have a community dinner with healthy homed cooked meals and other resources and we welcome you any time. Blessings to you and I do hope and pray your circumstances improve soon..

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