Homeless cottages

By From page A4 | July 01, 2013

Never underestimate the charitable inclinations of El Dorado County residents. The latest example is Mark Murray, who showed up at the Hangtown Haven homeless camp on Broadway and helped the homeless construct a model of a Murray Shed he designed as a mini-shelter with bunks for two.

The beauty of the design is its simplicity. At 8-by-12 feet it does not require a building permit. The mini-shelter does not replace tents because it is primarily designed to serve the working homeless who can pay a monthly rent.

The cottage only needs concrete block to set it off of the ground. It comes with two windows, a locking front door, a desk, a dresser and a small closet.

Rents haven’t been announced, but two sharing a cottage could pay off the cost of the building materials in a year at $100 a month each.

Hangtown Haven Inc. founder Art Edwards said a dozen such cottages could pay the expenses of the homeless camp.

Edwards has done a stand-up job organizing the homeless camp at its current location on Broadway. The tents are neatly arranged like a military encampment, there is a communal fire pit and cooking area covered by a shelter. The residents organize and run the camp and from all accounts have done a good job.

Edwards hopes to move to Perk’s Corner, county property near the now abandoned original Weber Creek Bridge when Highway 50 was the Mother Lode Highway. The property is owned by the county and Edwards is hoping to rent it for a token fee. Such an arrangement would help the county fulfill its state mandate to provide low-income housing. It is certainly an obligation of us all to provide some assistance to those less fortunate.

And for the working homeless and those attending classes this location puts them nearer potential jobs and the college.

We thank Edwards for his work on behalf of the homeless. And we thank Mark Murray for coming up with this cottage design.

“We’re hoping we can get churches and nonprofit organizations or businesses to sponsor the money for materials for a cottage and the homeless will build it. These cottages, built by the homeless, will be a way of supporting themselves and I don’t think that has been done in the county before,” Edwards said.

And it will give them a sense of pride in their accomplishments.

Mountain Democrat

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