Haven keeps homeless out of woods

By From page A5 | February 11, 2013

EDITOR: The Letter to the Editor on Feb. 1, 2013 by Mayor Wendy Mattson highlighted exceptional efforts by the city of Placerville, non-profit organizations and churches to assist the homeless. Thank you Ms. Mattson for your efforts on behalf of the less fortunate in our community.

The mayor’s letter, however, begs an answer to the following question: Why is the city of Placerville imposing an arbitrary date for closure of Hangtown Haven, the facility for the homeless that has drawn regional attention as a model for other communities?

In her letter, the mayor describes the Haven as running smoothly and successfully and later states it must be closed in November of this year (just as the cold winter begins). As a volunteer at the facility, I wholeheartedly agree that the Haven is indeed both operating smoothly and is a success. The reason to close the Haven is not fully understood.

Ms. Mattson does reference the lack of sidewalks along Upper Broadway. Granted, the roadway is narrow and there is minimal to no shoulder. However, many people walk this stretch of road, as have I, and have been doing so for many years. Narrow roads and lack of sidewalks can be found in many areas of Placerville.

If the existing facility is closed and not replaced with another (most likely modeled after Hangtown Haven), the homeless residents will not simply disappear. They most likely will camp in nearby wooded areas, creating potential health problems, wildfire concerns and increased policing activity.

The Mayor states that a more appropriate location needs to be found. However, the upper Broadway area may generate fewer concerns for the public than most other areas.

Hopefully the city’s outstanding efforts in creating a model solution will not be in vain.


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