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.


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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