Anaheim Code Enforcement Aims to make Homeless Advocate R. Joshua Collins Homeless Again!

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So last Tuesday, Rafael Anguiano of Anaheim Code Enforcement dropped by Grace Bible Church on the west side, and told the pastor that R. Joshua Collins, who’d been living in a room there and acting as caretaker for three years, would have to leave by tomorrow night.  (Tuesday July 17.)

Thus, the City proposes to make one of our most tireless and outspoken homeless advocates once again homeless himself.

Josh has been advocating for the homeless since 2013 when he came to Anaheim from Las Vegas, under the rubric of his “Homeless Advocates for Christ.”  This involves going out and talking to the homeless themselves, seeing if they need anything or have any problems or are being harassed, feeding them several times a week, and preaching to them.  Most of that doesn’t bother people.  But when he and his colleague Lou Noble stand up to the homeless liaison team and other Anaheim police, filming them (from a discreet distance) to make sure they aren’t going above and beyond enforcing Anaheim’s (already draconian) anti-camping and storage ordinances … that’s when they sometimes get into trouble.

In Josh’s well-kept room at Grace Bible Church.

In October 2015 this blog reported on the arrests of Lou and Josh for filming the police at Maxwell Park.  They were arrested very roughly, Lou was left for hours locked in a police car on a sweltering-hot day, and the police took their phones as “evidence” and didn’t return them till days later – several constitutional violations!

So still today the aftermath of that incident continues with two lawsuits;  Josh and Lou recently gave a deposition in one of them, although Josh says he’s no longer involved in the suit, which will go to trial in October.

Still, when Code Enforcement came knocking at Grace Bible Church last Tuesday, we figured it could be punishment or intimidation for the lawsuit, or for his filming and questioning the police in general.  Mr. Anguiano claimed there had been some complaint leading to his visit, but there had certainly been no noise, mess, or drama, the usual things leading to a neighbor’s complaint.  Almost certainly somebody knew about the work Josh had been doing and aimed to punish or inconvenience him for it.

Anguiano says that, pursuant to both Anaheim Municipal Code and California Health and Safety Code: 17920.3 , 17920.3N, nobody can SLEEP OR EAT in Grace Bible church, there cannot even be any CLOTHES STORED unless they are in BOXES, and that Josh has to be out by tomorrow night.

Anguiano is due to check in again tomorrow morning – Tuesday – and the Orange Juice will be reporting from there.  There are multiple ways in which this is wrong.  Conservatives and Republicans like to shirk governmental responsibility for the less fortunate, claiming that churches and religious folks will willingly, voluntarily, take care of such problems.  Well, here is a case of exactly that happening, but code enforcement wants to put an end to it.  Josh feels it particularly harsh that, after backing out of a surefire suit in which he was likely to be awarded a good deal of money from the City of Kindness, they repay that retreat by throwing him out on the streets again.

We’ll be adding to this story; meanwhile here are just a few of the dozens of videos Josh has taken of his work:

Josh’s 2015 arrest:

Discussing homelessness issues with Judge Carter on the riverbed…


Homeless woman tells Roussan about police threats of false accusations.

Big collection of good homeless interviews (interspersed with religion)

Debating Homeless Liaison Officer Lambaren recently over property seizure:

to be continued…

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.