Homeless Issues #69

Homeless Issues #69 Nomadic Shelter Rundown

Host Churches, Where the homeless stayed overnight:  Cold Springs Community Church (2 nights per week), Green Valley Community Church (2 nights per week), Foothills United Methodist Church (one night per week),  Solid Rock Faith Center (one night per week), Federated Church (one or two nights per month), New Hope Fellowship Church (one night per month), Christlike Services (two nights per month).

Participating Churches who provide volunteers at host churchs; Cold Springs Community Church:  Cameron Park Christian Center (one night per week), Rolling Hills Community Church (one night per week)

Major Transportation Support:  Mercy Way Rescue Church, Hangtown Haven, Inc., Christlike Services


Supporting groups who have provided or will provide financial support: St. Stephan’s Lutheran Church, First Lutheran Church, El Dorado Community Foundation, City of Placerville.


Bless all of you. And keep the faith to repeat your love for those who have the least in our community

A special thanks for the time, sweat, tears, frustrations that Pastor Frank Gates endured.


She said. ” The effort to go to the store and select the ingredients for a cake, take it home, measure the ingredients, wait for it to cook, all before I can take a bite. Why? When someone else will just give me a piece of cake?” ……

“(Why make the effort?) Someone will come up with the food and a place to sleep?”

The enabled and the enabler both get satisfaction out of what they do. One feels safe in that someone else will provide for them, and the other feels good that they get recognition.

“I’ll just call —- or —– if you don’t  ……”    and     ”Give me my free tent!!”

How can we teach, by example, accountability? Where does that entitlement attitude come from?   ………     Do we bunch in the mentally challenged homeless with our concerns??


Hangtown Haven showed that, responsible, accountable, homeless persons can be an asset. Yes, they had some bad days, a few, misdirected policies, but overall it helped lift persons who were in need and wanted to make an effort towards getting themselves out of homelessness and begin a new start, that start and incentive to move “up.”.


Pattie’s Thoughts

Facts need to be brought out: Regarding a statement from Placerville city

  1. The daytime shelter is closing down because the city has pulled its Special Use Permit, eliminating the only place left in town where the homeless can spend the days off the streets. Now you will see more homeless wondering the streets and begging for food. The statement by the city thanking Christ Like Services for “Providing shelter from the weather” is disingenuous because it is the city that is preventing them from continuing to operate.
  2. Last year when the rotating shelters closed, many of the homeless went to Hangtown Haven on Upper Broadway to stay in a legal camp. Now that the camp has been closed by the city, the homeless have no place to spend the night except in parking lots, store entrances and parks. But, not to worry, our police force will roust them out.
  3. Our police department will “clean up those impacted by illegal camping.” What they don’t say is that there is no “legal” camping in the city limits, so it is obvious that the city intends to use the police to run all of the poor people and homeless out of town or throw them in jail. The article does not mention that.
  4. Encouraging people to “volunteer and contribute to churches that have programs to assist the homeless,” is disingenuous at best. The article itself says that all church rotating shelters end in March 31, so what services are churches now providing? The only services now available are the Saturday morning food and clothing distribution at Green Valley Community Church and food provided by the Upper Room and the FAITH lunch program. Sleeping bags and tents are given out by Job’s Shelters, along with clothing, but there is no place in the city or county for anyone without a home to sleep.


There are a few important points that the city did not bring out in their report;

  1. Test conducted around the country confirm what we all know, but apparently the city does not, that no program will be effective with homeless people until they have a safe, secure, warm and dry place to sleep. A shelter comes first.
  2. The city ordinance that prohibits “panhandling” is blatantly unconstitutional and impinges on everyone’s freedom of speech. How can a city morally or legally keep a person from asking for money when it closes down all the shelters in town?
  3. What the article did not say is that of the forty or so homeless residents that were living in the now closed rotating shelters, four families with small children were in that group. One woman with a four-month-old baby to care for is now on the streets. Can you imagine trying to raise a four months old baby while living on the street?
  4. Yes there are many homeless who need help from a mental institution. We all know that. And the county is doing its best to help. But let’s all remember why so many people are wandering the streets who should be institutionalized. During the Reagan governorship, he suddenly closed the mental hospitals in the state without warning and every county was then required to fend for itself. We are still paying the price for that.


Until our community can get together and provide minimum services to our homeless neighbors, they will continue to camp out and panhandle illegally crowding our jails and taking up the time of our law enforcement officers who should be spending their efforts enforcing our laws against real crimes.


This newsletter has praised the Mayor and City Council members of Placerville city very highly over the past year. But when the bowels of the city exploded, and the flush ensued, the Mayor and the city tried to keep their heads above the swelling water. Way….. tooo bad!


Ignorance of all things is an evil neither terrible nor excessive, nor yet the greatest of all; but great cleverness and much learning, if they be accompanied by a bad training, are a much greater misfortune.          Plato


This year’s nomadic shelter was filled with new adventures in caring. We encountered many new faces and some we have seen for years. The number of young people that used our services this year had gone up, along with the increase in drug use. Alongside the drug use came the loss of life which we all felt and grieved. More than ever though, I think it put a resolve in our spirits to not give up and to work as a team to help facilitate lasting help and positive change within our homeless community. With God leading the way all things are possible.

Paula Lee

Solid Rock Faith Center


Please send this to others whom care about those in our community who have the very least. See below!

Please visit the JSS web site …..www.jobsshelters.org.Donations can be made by clicking here.

Homeless Issues #68

Homeless Issues #68Ones perception becomes ones “facts.”  Ron Sachs

We saw this during the “Town Hall” meetings. People complained about defecation and urination on their property attributed to homeless persons. While Hangtown Haven was the subject, and HTH had toilet facilities, their perception was that ALL homeless persons where responsible. Same perception regarding alcohol and drug abuse, not allowed in or around HTH, but again, their perception was that ALL homeless persons where responsible.

The Nomadic Shelter accommodates around 45 persons each night, but does not allow 5-6 trouble makers stay at the Nomadic Shelter because they scare off volunteers, starts fights, and are detrimental and unsafe to the others at the Shelter. Those 5-6 persons are the ones that some people see as representative of a homeless person. “Ones perception becomes ones facts.”

HangTown Haven, Inc. is now under contract with El Dorado Health Connections to lease and maintain a rental home in El Dorado County in which five clients can live together under the supervision of an HTHI volunteer. The clients will be referred to the home by Marshall Hospital and will be patients who have difficulty in managing their health care on their own or in accessing the services they need. One of the purposes of the project is to reduce the use of the hospital’s emergency room and services by working with the clients to learn healthy living and life styles. HTHI will maintain the home and help to train the clients in living on their own by preparing their meals and maintaining a healthy living environment. The operation of the home is made possible by the cooperative effort of Partners in Care, with financial support of Marshall Hospital and with start-up costs and many working hours provided by Hangtown Haven volunteers.

From the BOS:
You are probably already aware that staff from County Health & Human Services will be meeting with folks at Christ Like Services on March 20 beginning at 10 AM to get people enrolled in Medi-Cal and able to receive primary care services at the Community Health Center.

Additionally, we have been working over the last several weeks to develop a transitional housing strategy and hope to bring it to the Board of Supervisors in the coming months.Sincerely,

Mike Applegarth
Principal Analyst
Chief Administrative Office
El Dorado County


The Nomadic Shelter & Christ Like Services will shut down on      April 1.  What is going to happen after that?

Christ Like Services, off of Placerville Dr. has planned to offer daily classes to those homeless persons who want to make a change in their lives and have a place to study a productive skill that will help get them out of homelessness. They will be offering classes in truck driving, bus driving, auto mechanics, etc at no charge to homeless persons applying.

This is GREAT. If you have a skill that you can teach to others, that will produce income for  homeless persons, please contact Bob Duruelle, at …robertduruelle@yahoo.com …

This is what we need more of. This program is well worth supporting.

The Upper Room, the ministry that provides food for anyone who arrives between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM, seven days a week, will be closed for the first two weeks of April to replace the floor.
Where will our homeless population go??????? Who really cares?????? What can I do?????
Job’s Shelters of the Sierra (JSS) and others will find them and serve.



Please visit the JSS web site …..www.jobsshelters.org.Donations can be made by clicking here.

Homeless Issues #67

Homeless Issues #67

“The middle of the road is where the white line is – and that is the worst place to drive.” Robert Frost

“These are the people who make Job’s Shelters of the Sierra work. They are out on the road visiting the encampments and gathering places where our homeless population congregates. They are providing the necessities for homeless existence. Socks help keep their feet healthy so they can move around. The hygienic supplies help to keep them out of the emergency rooms. Also distributed are warm clothing, toilet paper for women’s hygiene needs, runny noses, and its traditional use; sleeping bags when needed, and tents when practical.”

Art Edwards said, since the homeless encampment at Hangtown Haven has been closed down by the city, the homeless residents have scattered around Placerville and El Dorado County. Most are going to the revolving centers at different churches each night, spending the days at Christ Like Services. Some are camped illegally in the surrounding forests and parking lots. The churches are doing a masterful job of housing the homeless on these freezing nights. We have seen as many as fifty sleeping on the floors of these generous churches as they try to provide a warm and safe shelter for those less fortunate than we.
These rotating shelters and Christ Like Services have stepped up to keep fifty people from freezing to death each night, but they are unable to provide the one service that we had at
Hangtown Haven, the interactive support that many of the homeless need to get off of, and stay off of, drugs and alcohol. The homeless now have no place to keep their belongings and own only what they can carry on their backs. The support they had at the Haven is now gone and they survive alone and have lost the daily interaction that came to depend on. Consequently, some have reverted back to unhealthy behavior that has served then badly in the past. But the question remains, what will they do when the rotating shelters close at the end of March? There is no answer to that important question at this moment.
As you remember, the City Council closed down its legal homeless encampment called HangTown Haven this fall, in part because they claimed that, “The homeless encampment was attracting out-of-county homeless to the area even though
HangTown Haven did not admit non-Placerville residents.” Those of us working with the homeless knew that this was a fallacious argument, but no one could prove it. Everyone agreed that the only “proof” of this would be the crime rate; however, all we had to rely on was George Neilson, the previous police chief, who showed us his records that indicated that the city’s crime rate dropped the month that HangTown Haven opened in July of 2012 and stayed down as long as he was chief.

However, the City Council did not buy into these facts and continued to deny that the crime rate was actually down in our county because of HangTown Haven’s existence. I wonder how the City Council members feel now that proof has just surfaced that Chief Neilson was right. In a study done by the California Department of Justice and just released by the Public Policy Institute of California, of the thirteen counties surveyed in California, ten had an increase in crime in 2012 and three, lead by El Dorado County had a decrease. The average increase of the ten counties was 7%, and Santa Clara County was the leader of the pack at 20.4%. El Dorado County (however) bucked the statewide trend by decreasing its crime rate by 11%. Did Hangtown Haven actually contribute to the decrease in crime rate?

The report had an additional fact that was very interesting. The second county that had a crime decrease (10%) is Placer County, our neighbor to the north. This point is significant because people in Placer County have been working with us to develop their own HangTown Haven to house their local homeless population. It’s significant that the only two counties reported in California that had a significant decrease in crime in 2012 were the two counties that provided some type of shelter for their homeless population. Of the thirteen counties surveyed, the following were included: Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, Santa Clara, Alameda, Sacramento and Contra Costa among others. This is certainly a meaningful representation of the population of our state.

 It is perhaps heartening to the homeless to learn that they were right. Their encampment did not cause an increase in the crime rate in our community as claimed, but, in fact, may have contributed to its decrease. Now, without a homeless shelter, perhaps we can join the other counties in our state and watch our crime rate escalate!
JSS asked Mr. Mike Applegarth, the spokesperson on the homeless issue for the Board of Supervisors, to make the statement that the BOS promised to make in January. NO RESPONSE! I have a feeling that the City of Placerville would also like to get some kind of response from the BOS regarding a homeless shelter. Has the BOS had a meeting with those who are supposed to be advising the BOS on a homeless solution? I understand that that has not taken place. Ask your Supervisor to get the ball rolling!
JSS has a table display with brochures to display at your next gatherings or meetings. Just let us know, and we will be there. ;-)

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

Donations can be made by clicking here.


Homeless Issues #66 and Gift Opportunity

Homeless Issues #66 and Gift Opportunity

The poet Stanislaw Lec said “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

Our pews, club chairs, assembly halls are filled with those “pure snowflakes” that never feel responsible for the avalanche of disregard to those in our communities that have the very least.

May I remind all of you to keep in mind: What faith group, government, or private entity will accept, every night, persons who are developmentally challenged, chemically challenged, mentally challenged, continually enabled in their anti-social behavior, and just out of a prison environment, as well as a few who are “just out of work”????That would be YOU.. How many of you are equipped to deal with all of those issues? Our pews, chairs, supervisors’ chambers, city council chambers, faith centers are full of those who know “how it should be.”  Reality says “It aint so.”

Do we have to be cautious? Yes! We have volunteers and environments to protect. Do we need to enable bad behavior? No. But we are the only ones who are willing to take on the job that those who are elected, and have the most votes, do little to nothing for. Mistakes, sub-equipped buildings, etc. is what we have to work with. Make it work!

Pattie’s Thoughts:  Life After the Closing of Hangtown Haven

Life following the closure has been more challenging for some than for others. Those who were firmly headed in the right direction have continued to benefit from their momentum and from the outpouring of support from our volunteers and church family.

Three out the four Community Council members were taken in by volunteers who graciously opened their homes for them. One of the Community Council members was able to move in with a close friend.

There were four people who actually detoxed or got clean during their time at HTH. They are still clean and sober and doing well. Some have gone on to permanent housing and one has returned to work for a former employer, he continues to use the shelters at this time.

On average between six and ten HTH people utilize the shelter at this time. That number is expected to increase to between fifteen and twenty as the weather gets colder. The over crowded conditions make the shelter a challenge for many. With the shelter already reaching maximum capacity these anxieties will only worsen.

There was a group of about five people who unfortunately backslid. Without the support they needed to maintain their sobriety they have not managed to do very well.

All in all about a third got stable housing, a third are using the shelter and a third are out in the woods somewhere mostly out of touch.


Please, someone make sense of this!

The City of Placerville shuts down Hangtown Haven and puts 30+ persons on the street with no place to go. The attitude seems to be to let the faith centers take care of our problems. Then the City of Placerville enacts ordinances – ordinances that were supported by the full Council – that defeat the very policies of openness and tolerance they so beautifully once exampled. Is the season of Christmas being lost to “money at all cost” politics? Let’s hope and pray not.

As you and your family celebrate the Christmas season please remember those, who like our Savior, are without home.

JSS is in dire need for sox to distribute. Cotton, men’s size and style, new or washed used will be greatly appreciated.

Great Gift Opportunity from Job’s Shelters


Joe’s Home
“Malibu Joe” was part of the Malibu community for many years. He was a homeless man, who lived in a parking lot where he was surrounded by all his worldly possessions: plastic tarps to keep dry, a plastic bottle of water, ice chests for food, a tattered hat and overcoat and a pipe in the corner of his mouth. He wasn’t a pest or a drinker, but loved by the people of Malibu. The little store gave him out-dated food and over ripe fruit. He wouldn’t take hand-outs, but people left things for him. He got some things out of the dumpster.

Louise Nelson, a local artist has undertaken the project of using prints of her award-winning painting of Malibu Joe, to raise funds to help homeless and needy people.

The prints are numbered and signed by the artist, with a certificate of authenticity. 20” X 24”; ready to frame. Bids of over $75.00 will be accepted. We have only 2 prints. Contact Ron at the below e-mail address with your bid, name, address, and telephone number. I’ll bring the picture to your address if possible.

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

Donations can be made by clicking here.

Homeless Issues #65

Homeless Issues #65                                      11/25/2013

The following are statements from the major players regarding the demise of Hangtown Haven.

Hello Ron,

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.

Thanks Ron,


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

Placerville resident

for 27 years

Again, back to square one


Posted;  June 12, 2009 ….  From Homeless Issue #3

It is the ultimate goal of the JSS, working with a coalition of caring groups, to acquire property to  build adequate housing for homeless citizens in El  Dorado County who want to better themselves, whereby programs can be offered to integrate its residents back into society with dignity and purpose.

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

Donations can be made by clicking here.

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.

Homeless Issues. Becky’s Story

Dear Reader of Homeless Issues:The following is a true story from a real person at Hangtown Haven. We thought it reflected the good of this work and wanted you to see it too.


Becky’s Story
“Reflections Beside the Campfire”


As I sit looking around the campfire I am reminded of all the amazing stories. I am reed of the triumphs and the defeats but mostly I am reminded of the hope that a simple community can create and the support that is offered and the grace received. The love that endures in a population that many wish would simply disappear. Let me share some of these stories.

M- a gentle spirit who is plagued with such severe arthritis some days he can barely move. I remember a few Saturdays ago we had an abundance of donations. Matt pulled me aside and mentioned a family living just up the street with two teenage boys. He said they were having a very hard time financially and had no food. About and hour later the father arrived and we were able to fill his trunk with food. The man went away in tears and all he said was imagine this from a homeless camp. I recently found out that M use his SS to pay that families back rent so they didn’t lose their home.

R- is a jolly soul who served our country in the U.S. Military. In the past year he has had two open heart surgeries the most recent about three months ago to have a stint put in his heart. When they went in he had a 99% blockage. As a family we watched and held our breath wait for him to return to us and he did. He always has a witty comment or an off color joke to offer. He’s also the first to say cut the crap. He struggles with alcoholism but has done better at HTH than he ever has.

C- is a young man who came to us fresh out of jail. He has been a frequent guest there. He was cocky and full of himself. We worried about him but before long he began to step outside of himself. He began to take great pride in having a neat and orderly well kept area. During the summer he signed up for college. He is amazing example of determination. He has also turned out to be quite the gentleman always willing to walk one of the girls to the store or make sure they get to the bus safely. He has humbled himself and always has a ready smile.

G- is an older gentleman that has experienced more tragedy in his life than anyone should have to endure. He lost his wife and child to a drunk driver some years ago. This was followed by four other tragic losses in his life. We often hear G screaming from the night terrors he still suffers from. G used to make a living as a taxi driver however do to the effects of diabetes he is unable to see well enough to do his own shopping. He is basically unable to leave camp without escort.

JW- is Bi-polar Schizo-effective. She requires constant stability. She also must be watched constantly as her mood can swing drastically from Giddiness to sobbing to aggressive behavior. She finds a great deal of support at HTH. There is always a persons willing listen to her or just hold her if she is upset and there is no shortage of comedians when a silly distraction is needed. We call her our Pillsbury dough baby. Just poke her belly and see hear her giggle.

T- is one of our strongest individuals both physically and mentally. He is always there to lend a hand. If there is work to be done that is where you will find him. He is also always there to remind me that the fastest way to have a good day is to start with putting a smile on my face. About a month ago T suffered a stroke while working for a gentleman that only pays fifty dollars a day for ten hours of hard labor. T was released from prison after serving fourteen years for a commercial burglary during the three strikes days for all crime. He came away from that experience on of the most grateful and thankful men I have ever known. He volunteers his time

S- is a nineteen year old young woman who despite growing up with a mother suffering from addiction issues and having a severe learning disability earned her certificate of completion from El Dorado High has chosen to go back to adult ed and try to continue her education. She loves working with the elderly and has been seeking employment in that field.

JA- came to HTH after spending three years in prison for an alcohol related offense. If you had asked him four years ago, he would tell you that he planned to die and alcoholic. Now he is a member of the leadership council of HTH. He is deeply involved in service at Green Valley Community Church. He has never missed a service and he is a strong advocate for a clean and sober lifestyle. He offers compassion when needed and tough love when necessary. He was baptized on April 25th with the rest of the Community Council for the Hangtown Haven.

H- was a hopeless drunk who suffered from major mental health issue stemming from physical abuse suffered as a child. He now has just over 100 day sober. He spends a lot of time helping a friend of his on his farm. His mental health issues have stabilized and he is now calm and always quick to tease and poke fun reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously. He is also quick to offer a reminder that this is our home and we must treat it as such.

L- came to us after being viciously raped. She came to us very fragile and lost. I will never forget the look on her face when she said “do you not want me” That is a question no human being should ever have to ask. She is young in her sobriety and yet reaches out to every lost soul she can find always with an offering of love and hope usually said at mach ten speed and always with a vibrant smile. She cannot go back out into the hills vulnerable and alone.  He was baptized on April 25th with others from Hangtown Haven.

K- will forever be apart of the heart and soul of HTH. They both came to be by Grace and determination. K who came to Placerville in search of his sister ended up find a much larger family. He had offered wisdom, support and leadership to HTH since its inception. K is a staunch protector of our family. He is also the first to remind us that we have rules and standards and that they must adhere to. He was baptized on April 25th with the rest of the Community Council for the Hangtown Haven.

LR- is currently in recovery he came from a tough background. He has had very little support in his life. He came to us like most with no family and therefore very little connection to the world around him. He found a family and therefore a connection. He is a gentle giant. I often marvel at the sight of his large form embracing the small form of JW offering comfort and love. He has worked in the field of caregiving and was devastated when his client and friend passed away.

F- a brilliant mind. A member of the Community Council. A regular attendee of Green Valley. He walks out of church every Sunday with a word for the week. He is the conscience and the boundary guard for the Community Council. He pours his heart and soul into the marketing of HTH and giving people a very strong visual representation of who we are and what we represent.

C- is a young man who suffers from severe learning disabilities and mental health issues. His father committed suicide when he was young and his mother turned to drugs and alcohol. He is another kind soul who unfortunately illustrates what hopelessness really looks like. He functions well in the acceptance. He has even begun to thrive. He is going to school to try and get his GED now.

B- is an alcoholic who is in recovery. He was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. He came to us with some reservation on both sides. He has turned out to be a great cook a great friend and great communicator. He relies on our support and friendship to alleviate his fears. He has truly made himself a part of our family. He was baptized on April 25th with others from Hantown Haven.

DM- is a great kid. Due to an unfortunate accident when he was 17, he has no short term memory. We often tease him that having him in camp is like the movie 50 First Dates. He is sweet and friendly. If you ask him when he was born if he remembers that he has an ID he will pull it out and check. He doesn’t leave camp without a buddy because he gets lost. He is always willing to accompany one of the girls on a day of errands so that she isn’t alone.

JD- is a paranoid schizophrenic who also suffers from severe sciatic pain. There are days that she is totally unable to walk. She relies on our family to check on her and give her food. She also needs to be watch to make sure she doesn’t become confused and if she does then there are people around to help keep her safe.

DA-  struggles with depression and addiction. He has found a family who does not judge and has been on track for stabilizing his mental health and staying clean and sober. He is helpful around camp and often quick to offer a grin or a poke in the side.

SR- is also Bi-Polar Schizo-effective. She came to us as a zombie. She had been over medicated and actually overdosed on her medication. We ended up calling an ambulance for her and she was hospitalized for two weeks. She is back now and very fearful about her future. He was baptized on April 25th with others from Hangtown Haven.

D- is diagnosed as Bi-Polar. She is separated from her family right now while she works on herself and her mental health. She is always quick to play a game of dice with anyone who needs company or a distraction. She has an infectious smile. She is a voice for those who need one and is always willing to fight for someone who needs it.

CH- is a mother struggling to start over. She is clean and sober. She has been the victim of domestic violence. She helps prepares meal regularly. She does shopping for those who can’t go themselves. She has immersed herself in volunteering at GVCC as well as participating in several of the Lifeskills classes offered there.

JC- is coming up on 180 days clean and sober. If you had asked anyone in Placerville 190 days ago to list the town drunks this gentleman’s name would have been high on the list. Now he is a volunteers at the CRC. He is our camp goofball always laughing and making those around him laugh. He is kind and funny.

SM- suffers from major depression. She came to us after being in a T-house for about six months. If you ask her now though she will tell you that she is happier than she ever has been. She will also tell you that we live in a place of miracles. A place where there is a home without walls, a family without strife and hope without bounds. She smiles more than she frowns, laughs more than she cries and gives more than she takes.

RN- is a member of the Community Council. I came here after the tragic loss of my mother. What I found was a family, a faith and a home. I have found a passion for what Hangtown Haven does. I have found purpose and a reward greater than I could imagine.

I look around and I think of those who have come and gone. I think of the miracle this place is and can continue to be. I wonder what the expectation is. If you take our home away you just expand the problem. How can you take a solution and turn it back into a problem. Why take one step forward and two back. The courageous men and women who have fought to come this far deserve better than to be cast aside and forgotten. They have fought so hard and appreciate every ounce of support along the way. We pray that everyone who has supported us or wanted to stand together and help us find an answer. Five weeks is a long time especially when you imagine what God did in seven days.

Becky is on the Community Council at Hangtown Haven.

Homeless Issues #63

Hangtown Haven News

Art Edwards of Hangtown Haven said, “It is with great pleasure that I tell you that we now have a Ford seven person van for use by Hangtown Haven. For this we are indebted to Ginger Jacob and CVCC for getting this for us. It came from Ron Wells of Wells Auto and he is obviously a Christian man who is dedicated to helping the homeless. It is in beautiful shape.”

SPECIAL NOTICE: The Mayor and City council members joined with the City Manager, announced to the guests and volunteers of Hangtown Haven that the guests at Hangtown Haven have to be out of that location by November 15th. The City is providing counseling to each and every member of Hangtown Haven, to ease their transition out of the securities of Hangtown Haven and the unknown of homelessness on the street. Even with this disappointment, we want to give credit to Wendy Thomas and the Placerville City Council for having the foresight and the “guts” to get this Hangtown Haven started in the first place.

On November 16th the El Dorado County government will take over the responsibilities that the city of Placerville had undertaken. What the County of El Dorado will do or not do is a very large question, and how long will it take for the County government to act is the great unknown?


The expanded Board of Directors of HTHI is presently creating a document of the proposed “Policies for Hangtown Haven West.” The new location for HTHI whether on county or privately owned property will be open to all citizens of El Dorado County. We are just in the middle of our quest for better treatment for our citizens who have the very least in our community. We need your urging, your churches, your organizations, urging your District Supervisor to quickly act on a plan to help those who have the least in our community.

Community Resource Center (CRC)

 The CRC is really organized, with regular training sessions for all of their volunteers who work at the site. They have set up a regimented procedure for the distribution of the tents, bags and tarps that JSS provides for distribution by them. They recognize that each combination of tent, sleeping bag and tarp cost JSS $60.00. With this in mind, they attach a dollar value to each distribution, knowing that the supporters of JSS are getting full value for their contribution.

The CRC is the starting point for any homeless person in El Dorado County. They do a complete interview and counseling of each person who enters their offices. They then guide these persons to the opportunities that are available to them.

Nomadic Shelter opens November 1st. Please help out at a church near you. They need all the help they can get. Contact Carole Smith at 530-306-9192.

Job’s Shelters of the Sierra (JSS)

As you noticed in the CRC report it cost our supporters $60.00 per person for a tent, a sleeping bag, and a tarp. We distribute these items throughout the year, hence our need for funds is also year-round. We take seriously our role as stewards and document each distribution in an ongoing effort to eliminate misuse and theft.

We again ask you to collect, ask your organization to collect, socks, to be given out to the homeless community. Their feet are most important in that they are on the move all day long. I have submitted bids to sock manufactures, but have not received any response from any of them. WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP!

Did You Know?

At the beginning of Hangtown Haven that Job’s Shelters of the Sierra was one of its larger donors and that when a new location is found JSS will again provide financial support to the best of our ability. We advocate for a permanent location for Hangtown Haven West, especially in light of what it has achieved in proving that many in our homeless community have the ability to self govern themselves with a little help from experienced volunteers. You can contribute to JSS and ask that the money be designated to Hangtown Haven West.


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

Donations can be made by clicking here.


Homeless Issues-Correction

Oops, we goofed.

Dear Supporter of the Homeless:

In the Board of Supervisor’s Update that I sent you last week I misstated the mayor’s position. My mistake and to set the record straight what Placerville Mayor Wendy Thomas did say regarding keeping Hangtown Haven open was that the decision was up to the entire city council, that there were major reasons for moving the site but that she would do her best to have the City work with the County to find solutions.

Once again, thank you for your support of the homeless and your support of Job’s Shelters.



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

Donations can be made by clicking here.


Homeless Issues Special Update

Homeless Issues Special Update

September 11 Board Of Supervisors Hearing:

It was a great experience for all of us …………… because …………. All persons recognized that El Dorado County has a problem and Hangtown Haven is one solution to that problem. There was virtually no opposition to Hangtown Haven and its operation. The problem was its location at Perks Court.

The County staff will begin to search the county lands to find a better place to put Hangtown Haven. The County has taken an interest, and now an effort, in getting a little corner of our world to place Hangtown Haven.

We were assured by the Mayor of Placerville that we would not be kicked out of our present location until a suitable place to put Hangtown Haven is found. Praise Wendy!

One observation was that many of the people did not know, or understand, what Homelessness is, and that it consumed 24 hours a day every day of the week for a homeless person. Knowledge of what homelessness is, and who the homeless are, and the differences within the homeless community, is little understood by the overall community. That is the biggest job we all have. We have to educate others.

Hangtown Haven Inc. Is not going away!!!!

It is with great regret that Jobs Shelters of the Sierra has been asked to leave Mercy Way Rescue Church, where JSS has been doing their tent, sleeping bag, and tarp distribution. We pray that MWR will continue to prosper.

The Winter Nomadic Shelter program is now forming in or around your church. Get involved. Contact CyndySalmon@Yahoo.com

How are you going to feel when on those cold, raining nights arrive, and you know there are people who need shelter, and you are not helping in any way.

How are you going to feel?


Please visit the JSS web site …..www.jobsshelters.org.Donations can be made by clicking here.