WE HAVE COME A LONG, LONG WAY towards the humane treatment of our homeless population. 9 years ago, I was part of the Continuum of Care (CoC), a required County organization by the U.S. Government, if a County wanted to receive Government funding. 6-8 persons would meet once a month at the County Senior Center, talk and suggest what the County should do to provide for our homeless citizens. A report was written. Nothing came of our suggestions.
TODAY! I am again a member of the CoC board. MIND BLOWING DIFFERENCE. The county is a participating partner with the many organizations now involved in caring for our homeless population. The County has spent $715,113.00 so far not only on housing our homeless but also providing Counseling and Navigation into permanent housing, teaching life and social skills needed to be happy and safe in today’s surroundings. We now have a total of 641 homeless persons that were interviewed and screened in our county. This amount varies and the homeless population flows due to economic conditions. However, as JSS took the homeless census years ago, that number was always around the 600 mark. That goes back 8-9 years ago. With personal connections with individual homeless persons now, “NAVIGATION” is the goal.
How did this all come about? The following is Ron’s interpretation on how this grew and from where.
Young, active, individuals as well as city government and district County Supervisor, are working together, in overcoming the homeless problems in South Lake Tahoe. They organized, worked together on ideas, fund raising, with a large investment from and interest from Barton Medical Center. Thanks much to Dr. Marissa Muscat, they got it together. And were successful….. The west slope of El Dorado County was poorly organized with constant rebuff from Placerville city and no County support.
Now those ideas, hatched in South Lake Tahoe have migrated to the west slope of El Dorado County. Marshall Medical Center and County government has gotten involved on the west slope.
HomeKey: a program that houses, engages and Navigates a homeless person into a safe, productive life style. 40 rooms are available. 115 persons screened. 74 persons are placed. Yes, a few had to be removed due to non-cooperation in the program.
Probation “HEAP”: Homeless Emergence Aid Program: The Probation office in El Dorado County is now operating a Recovery/Housing facility that takes those on probation off the streets and guides them to permanent housing, as well as job opportunities.
Covid-19 Homeless Response Team: Headed up by Marshall Medical Center, Dr. Martin Entwistle, engages and oversees the HomeKey program.
After all these 14 years of effort, it is rewarding to me to be able to see these changes. JSS still goes on with Brian, Colleen, and John going out twice a week distributing the necessities of life to the homeless population. Hobbled Ron is chasing supplies and clothing.
Next Issue will have information regarding a sheltering plan for the homeless who will be unsheltered throughout the winter. Yes, a group is working on how, when, where, that will take place.
Next County issue: Mentality challenged and addicted