PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Letters

Volunteers and homeless camps

By From page A7 | April 18, 2014

EDITOR:

We were going for a walk one day, in the merry, merry month of May, flip flops on our feet, walking trail our goal to meet. Much to our surprise, we came upon a prize. Fecal matter did surround us, toilet paper all around us. Compassion was not my thought, anger more than naught.

That being said, we don’t pretend to have a solution to this problem, but a few facts I do know for sure. Many, not all, homeless get a check from our government once a month. Not a lot, but average $800 a month. I thought, hummm, three tent dwellers together, that’s $2,400. Hummm. This community passes out shoes (a lot brand new), food, clothes, hot meals at the Upper Room, about the only thing we don’t pass out is alcohol and cigarettes, and oh yeah, tents. My facts and figures are not written in stone, but I’m close.

It just seems to me we are enabling this homeless behavior. Now the people of this community are asking for volunteers to clean up the abandoned camps. How can John Q. Public feel good about cleaning up these camps when the tent dwellers themselves got tired of the mess, packed up and moved on to a cleaner environment? I would.

I spoke to a homeless individual in Marysville the other day. He loves his life, also gets a check for $800, answers to nobody, but he is going to relocate to Yuba City.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you can pan handle in Yuba City, it’s against the law in Marysville.”

Hummm. I know the homeless have civil rights. If I were to defecate 50 feet from Missouri Flat Road, I wonder where my civil rights would be. But wait, there is more. Now we give them cell phones. What for, to call for a pizza delivery?

My hat goes off to those trying to get back on their feet. I’m all for the helping hand. However, as for volunteers cleaning up abandoned camps, we have what is called work projects from the county jail. Instead of pruning bushes at the fairgrounds, how about having them clean up these unsightly dwellings as part of their community project sentence? Have them do a real community service. I wonder if that’s in violation of their civil rights…

There’s lots of frustration on my part. Many will disagree with me. That’s OK too. Sadly I know too many homeless, more than I care to admit to, never invited to my home, mostly meeting them on the streets. One knows another, knows another, on and on. I do know if they wanted change, change would come to them. They don’t; they are happy where they are.

For years I have sheltered (no pay) battered women and their children. That is true down and out. We counseled them, got them to services provided, and had them on their feet within months. Not because of what the battered women’s program did at that time, but because these women didn’t want handouts, they wanted to get on with their lives. We didn’t coddle these women, broken spirits and broken bones did it on their own. Because they wanted it, not us.

This letter didn’t help with my frustrations; I just feel a lot of people don’t realize how happy these tent dwellers are. As for pan handling. Have you tried at certain times of the day to get in and out of Missouri Flat Station without being hit up for some change? Even the previous owners had trouble with pan handlers. How fair is that?

JUDY ELLIS BANKERT
Placerville

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