Dear El Dorado County supervisors,
I understand that, after several postponements, you addressed the option of providing a facility for the homeless in El Dorado County on Sept. 10. I have personally done some volunteer work with the Resource Center and Upper Room in Placerville and would appreciate the opportunity to enlighten you regarding this issue.
I have visited the Hangtown Haven on Broadway twice and have found it to be clean and organized. What these folks have done there is built a community. One of the major problems of the homeless population is the protection of their belongings. It is impossible for them to get needed resources, look for a job, or go to places like the Upper Room, when they can’t leave their belongings because of fear they’ll be taken. The community they have built at Hangtown Haven provides much needed camaraderie and safety that being a member provides.
Other issues are lack of bathroom facilities, clean running water and a place for trash. Hangtown Haven provides for all of these. The success of the camp should be applauded and supported. I would like to see the current camp kept open for the citizens of Placerville and the new site option at Perk’s Court for other area residents. Many volunteer hours have been clocked in an effort to provide for this segment of our population and are a testament to its success. As county representatives, I hope to see you regard this issue with compassion and support for this vulnerable segment of our community.
I’ve included some information from the National Coalition for the Homeless:
• Rural homelessness is a silent epidemic afflicting thousands of individuals and families every year.
• In addition to the causal factors of homelessness among all people who experience it, additional economic, social and geographic factors unique to rural areas exacerbate homelessness among the residents of rural communities.
• Rates of homelessness in many rural counties exceed that of urban and suburban counties.
• There is a dearth of homeless assistance services in rural areas.
• Most individuals and families experiencing homelessness in rural areas either go without even basic needs or they migrate to small cities and urban centers for assistance. Such forced migration leads to child and family trauma and disconnection from workplaces, relatives and peer and professional supports.
For further information on the public policy recommendations of the National Coalition for the Homeless, contact the NCH public policy staff at [email protected] or 202-462-4822, or visit nationalhomeless.org.