Homeless Issue Special

     In response to recent newspaper reports.

Background Info.
We have about 600 persons homeless in ED County. It is stated in the newspaper that most of the homeless are addicts or alcoholics. The mentally challenged where not mentioned in the newspaper, but are counted within this group. At 50% that leaves 300 not addicted or mentally- challenged. If we go to 80% addicted/challenged, that still leaves about 480 addicted or mentally challenged. Or, 120 not addicted or challenged. Are those 120 getting help? Are those 480 getting help? We at the Nomadic Shelter/Community Haven, Only Kindness, Job’s Shelters of the Sierra (JSS), Christ Like Services, Churches, and other organizations are attempting to shoulder the burden of these people.

Those 600 persons were interviewed by persons working with El Dorado County in their efforts to find the answers to the many questions regarding HOMELESS in El Dorado County. They found that most really are “in-county” persons.  “Our ball park would be 90% are EDC residents.
Some more stats:
60% men, 40% women, 10% of those adults have children with them.
If I might add: What percentage of alcoholic/drug addicted persons in ED County are in housing of their own, parents home, or friends homes?
The newspaper

In an otherwise good article about homelessness in our community, the paper made some glaring errors in their description of Hangtown Haven, the homeless community on upper Broadway. As my friend stated:
The paper said that residents of the Haven “defecated” on private property. But before that you say that we had Porto-Potties at the camp. So, why would anyone “defecate” on private property when they had a clean Porto-Potty at their camp? “Hey guys, I have to go to the bathroom so I am going to find someone’s private property.” Be real.
Residents were trashing private yards you say. But Hangtown Haven had a large trash container on site and everyone who visited the camp commented on how clean and well kept it was. Are you saying that residents traveled to neighboring communities when they had a trash container, emptied every week, on site? “Hey guys, my waste basket is full, let’s find a private yard to dump it.” Ridiculous!
The papers remarks about the police are completely false. The police chief at the time, Chief Nielson, told us, and, I believe, the city, that the day that Hangtown Haven opened up the crime rate in the Upper Broadway area dropped significantly. I am not criticizing the replacement chief, but what he doesn’t say is that the prisons in our state opened up their doors at about the same time that the Haven opened and thousands of criminals returned to El Dorado County. The increase in crime rate he saw had nothing to do with opening of Hangtown Haven.
So in all of the previous cases did homeless people go around committing these offenses with signs hung around their necks, ”I live at Hangtown Haven?”  
I am glad that the newspaper brought up this issue and covered it quite well. Now let the “Faith Community” step up with “Do unto others ….”; “We are our brothers keepers”; “What you do to the least, you do to ME”; There is a whole book on this subject of caring and doing for those who have the very least. Some in the faith community even read it. Where are the others? The Nomadic Shelter needs more help for the upcoming winter season from the faith community.
The newspaper also mentioned a collaboration between, Placerville police and City of Placerville, ED County Sheriff  Dept. and Supervisor Brian Veerkamp forming “Opportunity Knocks.” When I (Ron Sachs) went out on Wednesday to distribute the “necessities” to the homeless group “camped” out, the people were gone and so were some of their tents. They had been moved by the Sheriff Dept. I was told.  Under what conditions? Where to? The homeless service providers mentioned in the newspaper article did not know when I inquired. Is the County “Opportunity Knocks” providing the tents and sleeping bags from now on that JSS has provided? The batteries that the homeless person need? Socks to protect the feet? Tooth brushes and paste? Toilet paper? Sanitary napkins? A clean shirt? Replace those worn and dirty jeans? Sanitary wipes? and sometimes, shoes? In my humble opinion, “GREAT! The County is now taking the care of their citizens who have the very least. OR, as I was just informed, just “kicking them out of where they now are?”
Keep in touch as this unfolds.

BTW: The Placerville News Co., after saying twice, yes, to carrying the book,  “Homeless in the Gold Country,” now says they will not carry that book.
Ron Sachs