A luxury car drives past Angel Mayfield’s tent in the Santa Ana River homeless encampment. The driver shouts out his window: “Get a (expletive) (expletive) job you (expletive) pig!”
Mayfield has a job. In fact, she has two.
The residents in the camp next to Angel Stadium call their neighborhood “River View Village.”
We spent a week talking to people who live along the Santa Ana River trail. Like any neighborhood, the people are diverse but most share a common goal: they’d rather be paying rent than living in a tent.
Here’s a profile of 11 people who, for now, call it home.
Angel Mayfield works a minimum of 31 hours a week between her two jobs in retail. She’s lived along the river bed for a number of years. She’s a homeless advocate and works as a liaison between her neighbors and Orange County homeless assistance agencies. Most of the residents in the encampment know they can call on her when they need help.
“A lot of homeless people don’t do drugs, they don’t drink, they don’t have a criminal record or mental illness,” Mayfield said. “They just can’t find a job that pays enough to afford a $1,400 studio apartment and still have enough to buy food. Many homeless people want to change their lives around but they are defined by their past and now who they are now.”
Angela Piefer, 32, lives just north of Orangewood Avenue. Piefer has two jobs. She’s a caregiver and passes out food samples at grocery stores.
Piefer was an alcoholic for eight years. She drank every day. When it got to the point that the whites of her eyes were yellow, her fiance insisted that she go to the hospital to detox. Her liver was almost completely shut down. Six months ago, her liver was almost back to 100 percent healed.
“I’ve been clean and sober for a year and nine months. If I can get more hours I can make…