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Andy's Updates is the city of Anaheim's monthly email newsletter, bringing the latest Anaheim news right to your inbox.

See the news for January below, and scroll to the bottom to subscribe to the newsletter email alert to make sure you don't miss out! 


After an astonishing two-week buildout, Anaheim’s interim emergency homeless shelter opened Dec. 20.

And it’s had quite an impact on the most significant issue facing our city.

In just a few short days, about 150 people have moved to the shelter and out of homelessness at our parks and on our streets.

The shelter is set to operate for about 90 days before giving way to other shelters we have in the works.

It is designed to get people off the streets during the critical, cold winter months and to address unsustainable encampments.

Operated by Orange-based nonprofit partner Illumination Foundation, the shelter is a first step out of homelessness with case management, counseling, job assistance and other ongoing services.

Features include:

  • Family living space for up to four families before they move to other accommodations
  • Men’s, women’s living space
  • Couple’s space
  • Individual beds, nightstands
  • Transportation service
  • Personal storage space
  • Dining area, kitchen
  • Pets, outdoor dog area
  • Covered outdoor space
  • Lounge area with TV
  • Wireless internet
  • Inspirational murals

The interim emergency shelter is the result of a public-private partnership with the business community to benefit the homeless and Anaheim’s neighborhoods.

Major Anaheim businesses have committed $350,000 in funding for the shelter plus donations of furniture, building materials and services.

The donations from the business community will help offset the use of city resources for the shelter construction and operation.

The city of Anaheim has provided up to $1.4 million for buildout of the shelter and its operation by Illumination Foundation.

You can learn more about the shelters at


Just before Christmas, Haskett Library in west Anaheim saw a special visitor.

It was the man with the bag himself, Santa Claus. He brought fun and joy to more than 200 neighborhood kids.

For some kids, it was their first visit to Haskett in a while.

For months, a homeless encampment outside Haskett gave parents pause about having their kids visit the library.

But earlier on the day of Santa’s visit, a team of social workers along with Anaheim Police, Public Works and others cleared the encampment, which had peaked at about 60 tents.

Homelessness is tragic for those living on the streets. But equally heartbreaking are the impacts it has on parks, streets, neighborhoods and businesses.

With the Dec. 20 opening of an interim emergency homeless shelter and two others to follow in January and February, we are helping people out of homelessness while also restoring public spaces.

In addition to Maxwell Park, we’ve also cleared encampments at La Palma Park, Schweitzer Park, the underpass at Gene Autry Way and Santa Cruz Street, a bus stop on Katella, near Douglas Road and Cerritos Avenue, and at the corner of Magnolia Street and La Palma Avenue.

More than 150 people have moved from encampments to our interim shelter.

At each cleared site, our Anaheim Public Works crews removed debris, power washed sidewalks and cleaned grass and landscaping.

Residents and businesses who endured the impacts were glad to see the spaces restored and that those previously living on the street were provided a humane, compassionate alternative.

We will continue addressing the impacts of homelessness across Anaheim as we add additional shelter space.

You can find out more at

Providing shelter space to deal with homelessness is a reality not just for Anaheim but all of California.

A 2018 federal court ruling found that cities must offer a shelter bed before they can enforce laws against public camping, property storage and loitering.

Anaheim has a near- and longer-term shelter plan to meet our legal obligations, help people out of homelessness and restore our parks, streets and neighborhoods.

It starts with an interim emergency shelter that opened Dec. 20 on State College Boulevard at Orangewood Avenue.

The shelter is providing space during the critical, cold winter months before two other shelters come online in late January and February.

More than 150 people have moved off Anaheim’s streets to the shelter, which will close by March as the two other shelters open.

The two other shelters will provide 325 beds and operate for two to three years.

One is being built with The Salvation Army Orange County on a campus the nonprofit has in an industrial area along Lewis Street south of Ball Road.

The 224-bed shelter is set to open in late January. It’s made up of about 20 modular buildings on 1.7 acres.

The buildings house men’s and women’s living spaces, dining, bathrooms, showers, laundry, storage, administration and security.

The site also includes recreational space and a pet area.

The other site is in industrial east Anaheim, next to the existing Bridges at Kraemer Place shelter opened by the county of Orange in 2017.

It will be a 101-bed shelter in 12,500-square-foot building with living space for men, women and couples, single beds, privacy partitions, a kitchen and pantry, restrooms, showers, TV and computer areas and outdoor space.

The shelters will get people off the streets and house them for a few months before they move to the next step on their pathway out of homelessness.

Long term, the Salvation Army is planning what’s known as Center of Hope, a comprehensive homeless care center offering emergency shelter, transitional housing and supportive services.

The project, which would be built and run by the Salvation Army, is expected to open in late 2020 or early 2021. You can see what it will look like in the drawing above.

Anaheim’s two other temporary shelters would close once the center opens.

You can learn more about how we’re tackling homelessness through shelters at


Join us in downtown Anaheim on Saturday, Feb. 2 for an exciting celebration of culture and heritage at the 39th annual Orange County Black History Month Parade & Cultural Faire.

The yearly event brings some 8,000 people together to mark the contributions of African-Americans to Anaheim and the county.

Anaheim has proudly played host to the parade since 2011.

Attendees will get to enjoy more than 75 parade entries, including marching bands, parade vehicles, horseback riders, community groups and others.

This year’s parade grand marshal will be Bobby McDonald, president of the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce.

The parade runs from Walnut Grove Park up Anaheim Boulevard to East Center Street. After the parade, enjoy a street fair with food, boutique booths, music and festivities at Center Street Promenade.

At the Cultural Faire, the winners of the Orange County Heritage Council's seventh annual art contest will be announced.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. and the festivities will go until 4 p.m.

As the only black heritage parade in the county, the event showcases Anaheim’s and Orange County’s culturally rich African-American community.

Anaheim is home to about 11,000 African-American residents, or about 20 percent of Orange County’s black population, according to numbers from the Census.

For more, visit the Orange County Heritage Council at


Accidents happen.

No one expects to trip and fall or for your child to get hurt playing sports.

Calling 911 can be a scary decision. And, when you’re in your greatest time of need, the last thing you want to worry about is an added medical expense.

Anaheim residents and businesses can avoid an unexpected $387 charge by joining the Paramedic Membership Program from Anaheim Fire & Rescue.

When you pay $42 a year, or $3.50 per month on your Anaheim Public Utilities bill, you can avoid a paramedic response bill in the mail in the event you need to call upon them.  

For Anaheim residents, the program covers paramedic response fees for everyone living in your home. Extended family and friends are covered if they have a medical emergency while at your home.

For Anaheim businesses, the program covers paramedic response fees for you and your employees while at work.

Customers are covered if they have a residential account.

Membership in the program waives the fees for an Anaheim Fire & Rescue emergency response to your residence or business and for onsite emergency medical aid.

That response often can be the most crucial, helping to stabilize or even keep someone alive in those critical first few minutes.

The $42 annual fee covers one or multiple visits during the year.

The program does not cover separate ambulance transport, in-transit care
or treatment at a hospital or other facility.

For many health insurance providers, including MediCare, Medi-Cal, Medicaid, Cal-Optima and TriCare, the paramedic response fee is not a covered benefit.

During your time of need, the Paramedic Membership Program means you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Like an insurance policy, hopefully you won’t end up needing Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s paramedic service. But if you do, it will be the best $42 you’ve ever spent.

Visit for more information or call (714) 765-4060.

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We’ve wrapped up 2018 here in Anaheim, filled with countless memories.

As we settle into 2019, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments of 2018 for our city.

1. Honda Center: Anaheim will enjoy 25-plus more great years of Anaheim Ducks hockey and great entertainment at Honda Center, after the City Council approved an extended agreement with arena owners.

2. Anaheim Shelter Plan: In 2018, Anaheim expanded its efforts to address homelessness in the city, committing to build 325 shelter beds by early 2019. This will help us continue to help those in need, while also allowing us to enforce park rules and other laws when needed to address impacts on our residents and businesses.

3. Chrysalis: We celebrated the opening of the Anaheim office for our newest nonprofit partner Chrysalis, which helps those living in homelessness by removing barriers to employment and helping them find — and keep —  meaningful jobs. The city was able to donate use of the office space at 290 S. Anaheim Blvd.

4. Station 5: Anaheim Fire & Rescue opened a new station in northeast Anaheim to better serve our residents. Station No. 5 replaced a 56-year-old station at 1154 N. Kraemer Blvd. that went out of service and will help improve response times for those who live and work in the area.

5. Ponderosa: Just in time for a scorching summer, we opened the new splash pad at Ponderosa Park. Neighborhood families enjoyed beating the heat in this colorful water playground. The splash pad is the finishing touches on a $16 million, multiyear renovation at the park that also included a playground, community center, skate park, picnic areas, outdoor plaza, restrooms and fitness stations.

6. New Flag: Anaheim is waving a new flag, featuring two dark blue fields on top and bottom with a brighter blue stripe in the middle. In the center is an oval of six white stars. The new flag was one of 113 submissions we received after putting out the call for designs.

7. Poet Laureate: Grant Hier, a west Anaheim resident with long family ties to our city, was named Anaheim’s inaugural poet laureate and literary ambassador. For the next two years, he’ll work to better connect our community through poetry and great writing.

8. Logan Wells Skate Park: Anaheim broke ground on the city’s newest skate park, which will be in east Anaheim. The Logan Wells Memorial Skate Park will honor Logan Wells, a 16-year-old from neighboring Yorba Linda who died while skating in a 2014 traffic accident.

9. Helping Puerto Rico: Anaheim stepped up to help those affected by the hurricane in Puerto Rico, donated three vehicles to help the state in its rebuilding process, and also participating in a mayor exchange.

10. The Big Give: Nearly 200 Anaheim city employees and their families came together for the inaugural The Big Give, a day of volunteer community service benefiting seniors, veterans, students, neighborhoods and those in need.


Start off the new year on the right foot by upgrading your lights to make your home brighter and more energy efficient.

For a limited time, you can get an instant in-store rebate on LED light bulbs at one of several participating stores in Anaheim, thanks to a partnership with Anaheim Public Utilities.

Just look for the Anaheim Public Utilities logo on the light bulb box at these stores:

99 Cent Store (three locations)
2270 E. Lincoln Ave.
3420 W. Lincoln Ave.
910 S. Euclid St.

RSSA Home Improvement Center
481 S. Brookhurst St.

Habitat for Humanity of Orange County
1656 W. Katella Ave.

LED bulbs are brighter, have better color, last longer, and are more efficient than incandescent or compact florescent bulbs.

Find more information at or call (714) 765-4250.

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