Homeless Issues #64

Homeless Issues #64

Homeless placement at Perks Court is not on Nov. 5 BOS agenda. 30+ persons are not that important. Realigning maps, roads etc; # 13-0866 & #13-1133, #13-1044 etc. are.

There is fear of not knowing where one is going to sleep. They might know the building, but not even know where they will sleep in that building. Few have had to experience that; and after one does, you can understand why one escapes into the bottle or takes a hit so they do not have to remember that fear. The “Bushmen” of the savannahs of Africa make an indentation in the rocky ground to accommodate their hips and buttocks while they sleep. With just that indentation, they at least have their “home.”

I live in a trailer park, and just don’t have any property that a tent can be put up on. I can vouch for some homeless persons who can be a help on your property. If you have a little spot of land to allow a tent to be set up, please contact me. I have at least 4 persons, in their 40s, who are responsible and doing volunteer work in our community with no pay. They need to be encouraged. Can we find them a place to lay their heads; a little indentation in this rocky time? My e-mail address is below.

This is what I have been told by the El Dorado County Government:  A note from Mike Applegarth.

For Haven clients in particular, we have convened a team a Health and Human Services Agency staff that is preparing to meet personally with residents of the Haven at Town Hall on November 5 to ensure that they are connected to all services for which they are eligible. (All of us had that information, but relayed information to the County that the county did not have a handle on.)

We also have a team of County staff evaluating potential shelter locations as requested by Hangtown Haven and the City of Placerville, and directed by the Board of Supervisors on September 10. We have been working with the City to identify possible day shelter locations.  We are also trying to understand the potential costs for a day shelter and are working on funding options.  Hearing from the Haven representatives that transportation and storage are significant concerns, I have met with transit officials for options in acquiring and distributing transportation assistance, and am looking at locations near potential day shelter sites where we could place some type of storage unit.

Recognizing that many of the actions mentioned above are short term, the transitional housing discussion will hopefully provide direction on solutions we should be considering for the long term. (They had only months to work on the problem.) Does any of this alleviate a particular person’s chronic homeless condition? Absolutely not.  Does it perhaps give them a warm dry place to be while we try to leverage resources toward a better solution?  I hope so.

Meet Pattie: A concerned and informed citizen. You will hear from her periodically.

Pattie’s Thoughts:

Let me start by applauding the people who work in the Mental Health field in El Dorado County.  Those fine people are in the trenches doing the best they can despite the brokenness of the system as a whole. Without these fine people, who are greatly underappreciated, there would be no program for those with little or no resources. However, there are serious issues regarding the mental services that are available in the County.  At the result, The Mental Health Advocacy Team has been developed at Hangtown Haven. This team is composed of Laurie Marchant and Rebecca Nylander. The thoughts I present here are based on experience at the Haven in which we help monitor the well being of the residents and keep track of their appointments and medications.

I seek to provide a bird’s eye view of EDC Mental Health and its effect on the homeless population. I am aware that EDC Mental Health has gone through six doctors in eight months. The problem appears to be related to salaries and stress due to workload. One of the problems with a high turnover among doctors and the heavy work load is that clients often are seen by different doctors.  These doctors often come with different perspectives. I have been aware of frequent changes of a patient’s medications by different doctors. There is a high probability that a patient will not even be seen by the same doctor again. Another problem caused by the high turnover and the downtime between doctors is rescheduling. If a patient  was prescribed a medication by a doctor and that medication did not accomplish the intended result, or the patient reacted poorly to the medication, the chance of being seen by that doctor again are minimal at best and more likely impossible. What is happening to many patients is that they are being continuously rescheduled. There have been patients that have been reschedule five and six times. Each time there is, on average, a month between appointments. This result is clients who have been without meds for as long as five months.

The Mental Health Advocacy Team frequently struggles with trying to find other means of help. Often this requires turning to a lesser qualified primary care provider. Hangtown Haven provides ongoing emotional support and a safe place for the residents to register their anxieties and stresses.  This is often exacerbated due to a lack of meds or incorrect meds. It usually takes four to six weeks before it is known whether a med will work or not, if the dosing needs to be adjusted or if the patient was even diagnosed correctly. If a homeless individual is not lucky enough to have an advocate or the stability to navigate the mental health maze they often end up in an ongoing crisis mode with symptoms worsening and perhaps permanent damage is being the result. The other almost certain byproduct of these situations is concomitant addiction issues. Self medicate is applied in an attempt to cope and even to survive. Thus the person involved desperately needs not only mental health services but drug and alcohol recovery services as well.  These services are also sorely lacking in availability or effectiveness.

We have also come up against resistance in obtaining any treatment for many mentally ill people in the homeless community. Individuals have been turned away at the door and told to go to their primary care physician for care. This precludes them from access to the Transitional Homes, Vocational Rehabilitation Referrals as well as countless other resources to which they should have access. With the closure of Hangtown Haven there will be even more people with mental health issues sent out to fend for themselves with no one to fight the barriers to care and no one to support them in their struggles.

From Ron:    

BOS agenda of Nov. 5th includes; Item# 20 and #21 dealing with invitations and contracts with other counties to use the El Dorado County psychiatric health facilities. After reading “Patties Thoughts” does that compute? Does that mean having to hold beds for those counties and having to outsource our own people? Now we have 12 beds for inpatients but 18 beds are possible.

Time to Refocus.

I have resigned from the board of directors of Hangtown Haven Inc. After some discussion I’ve decided to step away from my leadership role in Hangtown Haven but will continue to help. Of course, I will continue to advocate for permanent shelter for the homeless at all levels of government and JSS will continue its delivery of personal essentials and informing the public of the inequities afforded to the citizens of ED County who have the very least.

Please visit the JSS web site …..www.jobsshelters.org.

Donations can be made by clicking here.