Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Haven keeps homeless out of woods

From page A5 | February 11, 2013 | 8 Comments

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.


Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 8 comments

  • rodFebruary 11, 2013 - 11:54 am

    Mr. Vandekar, Ms Mattson, I have worked at the Placerville airport for many years now and have observed a 10 fold increase, or more, in the number of transients walking (mostly) to and from the Hangtown Haven free food facility at the far east end of Broadway. Some have electric wheelchairs and drive in the roadway, obstructing daily traffic at their peril, one or two have been hit by vehicles as noted by police accident investigation on that stretch of Broadway. There is no question it is a dangerous bottleneck for pedestrians. I have shared my Mc Donald’s breakfast on occasion when I get the 2 for 1 price egg McMuffins with members of this group, but not with the ones that panhandle me. I learned that none of them are from Placerville but are transported from the Bay Area through re-hab facility overflow. How is it that the Bay Area, with their Gavin and Diane philosophy of unrestrained accommodation for the homeless… send them here? Is El Dorado County receiving monies for assisting a Bay Area problem? Yes, it is depressing to witness an ever-growing number of these walking homeless, but it appears they’re being transplanted here by design. I believe that is why Ms Mattson is rightfully curtailing further ‘ immigration’ by closing the Hangtown Haven. I have a good friend that volunteers his time there, he and his wife enjoy giving, helping the hungry. But what are we giving to the local community and property owners there? The new ‘tent city’ along Broadway looks like a Syrian refugee camp and the growing tide of walking homeless is getting much larger. Yes, the Hangtown Haven has generated regional attention and that is precisely the problem, drawing more of the homeless. Thank you.

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  • James E.February 11, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    None are from Placerville (or, I assume, the surrounding area) and are transported from the Bay area. How do they get transported from the Bay area? That electric wheelchair must be scary on Hwy 80/50.

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  • SHFebruary 11, 2013 - 12:25 pm

    They are from the Bay Area? I didn't know that. I'm all for helping but let's figure out how to help our own people before we take on Bay Area rehab overflow. I think the HH is a good idea and at least deserves a chance - but not at that location. The lack of sidewalks and NO shoulder is a perfectly good reason, but certainly not the only reason. I take that route to and from work every day and there are often transients in the road either walking, on a bike or a wheelchair. I've have witnessed several close calls and had one or two close calls myself. We aren't speeding or driving erratically - there are blind corners and suddenly there is a person in the middle of the street. It is NOT safe for pedestrians to be in the middle of the street in that area. It is already a problem - if HH grows it is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs. If you want HH to succeed and grow, then put it in a place that allows for growth. HH should be relocated to a safer place where they are safe and we are safe. Relocating would be safer for them, safer for us drivers, and help the dying businesses on that end of town. The homeowners and business owners in that part of town got the raw end of the deal. That part of town has been slowly dying and HH certainly hasn't helped. It's a bad location for everyone. Move it.

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  • 33/3rdFebruary 12, 2013 - 5:07 am

    Move it to the Bay Area!

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  • K.C. JonesFebruary 12, 2013 - 10:00 am

    Why can we not shelter those in need at the county fairgrounds. There is ample shelter and public restrooms already in place. In exchange for shelter they can help with maintenance, landscaping and vandalism prevention. They could help man the skateboard park. They would be in close proximity to our local thrift stores and there is public transportation right out front. They are near to the County & Sheriffs offices which should mean adequate safety for them and civilians. They could also be employed during events if they have met house standards and possibly get full time jobs if they desire. It's a big place and there is a lot of room.

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  • EddieFebruary 12, 2013 - 10:00 am

    I am at the camp and CRC on a daily basis I have noticed a whole new crowd from outside Hangtown.Parolees Mentally unstable and Drug dealing addicts. These persons are indeed a BLIGHT to this area and should be persuaded One way or another to GET the F3334K out of Hangtown.AREA churches are ENABLING these folks to trade foodstamps for Drugs by handing out free Food at lunchtime and at the nomadic shelter.When I filmed the Town Hall Chat I cant help but agree that most of these persons are rude obnoxious and DO not Care about this town. I would not be surprised if a Posse of local homeowners will Lynch some of these worst offenders and repeat Drunks. They have NO future no drive no sense and no BIZ being Here. email me at

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  • EvelynFebruary 12, 2013 - 10:09 am

    Eddie, your "testimony" is blighted by your anonymity.

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  • EddieFebruary 12, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    Eveln I am certainly not Announomous, ASK anyone at the Camp or CRC. For that matter ask the Police cheif about me. I am an independent TV producer,My work can be seen on Comcast Channel 2 locally, and also on I know of what I speak after interacting with most of these folks for the past 2 years. The best thing i can suggest is for local Churches to STOP giving out Free lunches and free everything. These people DO NOT appreciate it and it only Enables them to spend foodstamps on Drugs and alcohol I KNOW i have seen it first hand almost daily.

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