Placerville 16 months ago tried a social experiment by issuing a permit to a local land owner that wanted to give the homeless a pace to habit, safely. A non-profit group formed an association to manage the community named “Hangtown Haven”. Background checks were required to keep out felons and sex predators, and the donated land became a tent city for about 40 homeless families and individuals. The city had a large TV serving as an outdoor theater, and a small book library. Police officials say the area was clean and crime free.

So why is the city refusing to renew the permit, and have closed the tent city down, turned off water and electricity, and forced everyone technically on the streets, homeless again? It is because the experiment received to much publicity and attracted a larger element of homeless, panhandlers, and a crime element who took up residence on the parks and streets of Placerville. One official said, “We’ve become a destination point for this element”. This so called “Element” brought drunkenness, drugs, and crime to such a degree the neighbors rose up and complained to such a high enough degree to force the city council to shut down the experiment.

So what is the answer? A lot of very nice and giving people are working daily to try and help this element of homeless. The obvious problem is there is a stigma that all homeless are drunks and dope addicts which is not true. There are true needy people that need help. Churches, the Salvation Army, many individuals and service organizations with some local and county help do a great job helping these unfortunate.

OK, so what about the “Bad” element that is attracted to this world. Well, the change by state government to move less level prisoners and parolees down on the county and city governments has increased the “Homeless” community which stresses the systems that are trying to help.

Over time, we probably will be able to increase the services to accommodate this increase but for now, the system is stressed and increasing Sheriff and Parole services, food and home shelter services will take time and money.

Have a great weekend, be kind to yourself, and be happy!

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