Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hangtown Haven camp broken down: Residents scatter


HANGTOWN HAVEN board member Don Vanderkar comforts Becky Nylander, one of the many Hangtown Haven residents forced to pack their belongings and move to a new location Friday, Nov. 15. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

From page A1 | November 18, 2013 |

On the chilly morning of Nov. 15, Hangtown Haven in Placerville was broken down — personal effects packed, tents taken down and residents shipped off to new destinations with tears and an air of quiet, somber optimism. On Tuesday, 24 residents lived at the camp. Friday had about 20. Saturday would have zero.

Tom Carney, a volunteer helping to take the upper Broadway camp apart, said that “big stuff” — like one of the offices on site — could stay for a few months, but residents and whatever they owned had to be out by the end of the day. Some residents, he said, would be going to the “winter shelter,” or “nomadic shelter” — 10 churches rotating the responsibility of taking the homeless in. Others would illegally camp while still more would resort to couch surfing.

“They’ll be spread out,” he said.

The churches provide shelter from Nov. 1 to March 31.

“That’s their best hope,” Carney said of the church shelters. It’s a place to stay warm and dry, he said, and more importantly, stay safe.

“It’s a new beginning,” Haven resident Ralph Alexander said. “You just can’t see it through anyone else’s eyes. We’ll pick up the pieces.” He said the camp was being closed down for being overly successful — homeless from out of the county were coming to live there.

“In six weeks, maybe we’ll have something new that’s better,” Alexander said. “It’s nice here, I’m going to miss it. But the next place may be better.” He was quietly helping both residents and about a dozen volunteers take down tents and move personal belongings.

Three or four people would take down a tent, placed on pallets to keep it dry. Nails were taken out, tent coverings and tarps taken off, tent poles folded. On the path up the hill that makes up the Haven, the right side housed tents, the piles of belongings and supplies were on the left — food, bikes, water, air mattresses, backpacks.

Some of the belongings, including summer clothes and things that can’t be easily transported, will be held for the residents at the Green Valley Community Church in a large storage container, volunteer Steve Stockwell said while breaking a tent down. “Tents, sleeping bags, summer clothes,” he listed off. “The worst case scenario, they get it back in the spring,” after the winter shelter. He noted the homeless will not be able to access anything in storage at the church on a regular basis, though.

One man approaching the Haven was turned away. He was unaware it was closing. Another was driven to McDonald’s, final destination unknown.

Frank Matous, who designed Hangtown Haven’s Website, said the local stores such as Grocery Outlet will feel the impact of the loss of the camp. “We get $200 in food stamps per person per month, times 30 that’s $6,000 a month. They’ll have to cut hours, or someone is losing their job. It’s impacting the local economy.”

A tan Chevrolet pickup truck with a small flatbed backed up to the entrance to the camp. A shed that had been used as an office was picked up by about 10 people and moved 30 feet — with some difficulty — onto the flatbed. They pushed it across the gravel walkway, off the small slope onto the flatbed, packed with pallets to compensate for raised wheel wells, and shoved the shed onto the pallets. It was ready to be moved to Green Valley Community Church.

“We have a Christian background,” Alexander said. “We aren’t perfect, but we strive for happiness. We’re doing the best we can. If you don’t have anything to look forward to,” he trailed off. “It’s been fun. The staff, the volunteers were great. We don’t take taxpayer’s money, we are all self-supporting. We are all a family.”





District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3

Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3



My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments



Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8

Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8



Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Lisa Oliver Rose

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate




Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17