Homeless Issues #65 11/25/2013
The following are statements from the major players regarding the demise of Hangtown Haven.
You can print the following: From Art Edwards. President of HTHI
The homeless folks who were living at Hangtown Haven, the most successful legal homeless encampment in the west, were dealt a serious blow by the Placerville city government when they voted to close down the camp. During the discussion, it was made clear by the two lawyers present that the city had a choice and the council chose to close it, scattering over thirty homeless residents into unknown shelters and illegal encampments around the community. Many are using the rotating overnight shelters at the various churches, and a very few, if any, are using the day time shelter at Christ Like Services. However, both the daytime and nighttime shelters will close on April 1st and then where will they go?
It is interesting to note that the addition of the thirty or so residents of HTHI has already overloaded some of the rotating shelters and has exceeded the capacity of the bus that drives them there. HTHI has stepped up with its seven person van and is carrying overflow homeless to the various churches each night.
Hangtown Haven, Inc. is staying active with the homeless by providing transportation services driving overflow homeless to the nighttime shelters as mentioned and providing transportation for them to doctor’s appointments that gives them access to needed mental and physical support. Our now scattered residents are hard to locate because many are living in individual camps in the woods around the city. HTHI is also negotiating with Health Connections to see if we can support them someway in the health community.
We will continue to support the homeless in any way possible through this cold and wet winter, a task made extremely difficult by the actions of the city council.
Thank you for the opportunity…here goes: From Wendy Thomas, Mayor
The closing of Hangtown Haven was incredibly difficult; I can only imagine how hard it was for the residents and volunteers who have poured their heart into this effort. I firmly believe that this ending will pave the way for a new beginning, for we are committed to building on what was good and beautiful about the Haven model while being wise about the challenges within our community. As we find common ground, we can build on it, and the City and the County look forward to continuing to collaborate with you to make meaningful progress in supporting transitional living.
Ron: From Mike Applegarth. Spokesperson for the Board of Supervisors.
The Board didn’t direct us to find a location for another Hangtown Haven. The motion on September 10 was to report back on homeless sheltering locations. On November 5 the Board directed us to report back with an assessment of current services, community needs and possible financing options for transitional housing. Neither motion excludes a camp format like Hangtown Haven, but our investigation won’t be restricted to that concept. We hope to report back in January.
I was saddened and upset by the implication that Hang Town Haven was an attractive nuisance. In fact, AB109 has introduced 93% more felons to El Dorado County since the Realignment started. And guess what? They are directed to the CRC and the Upper Room. So much for blaming the Haven for the increased crime incidence of homeless offenders along upper Broadway. But that was the excuse that was used. As Counsel for HTH pointed out, the City Council acted on behalf of a then non-existent Community Planning Director(?), in granting the Special Temporary Use Permit to HTH. And with respect to this, the City Council could act independently by extending the TUP, or even issuing a new TUP on their own authority. I understand the neighbors angst and hope the police can do a better job of cleaning up this rats nest. I sincerely believe that you “threw out the baby with the bath water”.
John J Werner
for 27 years