In a recent post on this blog “Move the bums along in Arkleyville – MOLA:42’s Guide to the Search for Elsewhere” a regular commenter “re:pete” wrote:There really needs to be several campsites set up in different parts of the County funded by DHHS. They should offer Shelter, Counseling, Mental Health and screenings and bus tickets back home (voluntary). I’ve heard all the excuses why not, but what they’re doing now is a miserable failure on every level and has been for decades.
Then another commenter “oldplainjane” added:
I recently saw an article about a guy who is building VERY tiny “houses” out of scraps for the homeless. They are large enough to sleep in, have some overhead storage space and the door can be locked to keep their belongings secure when the occupant is away. A campground of these along with a community kitchen, laundry and restroom facilities (as well as the services Re:pete mentioned above, including regular mobile medicine visits) on the lines of the government camps which helped so many during the depression might work. Maybe a local church or civic group could manage it with volunteers. Giving the homeless secure camping facilities with basic amenities would give them a springboard back into a job and a regular home.
This really got the discussion going around the Examiner headquarters.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) makes up the majority of the Counties budget. Where are the results of all that spending? We look around and see very meager attempts at addressing the ballooning houseless population and the stress it’s putting on the whole community. We think the supervisors need to step up and address this problem. Re:pete is right; there needs to be strategically place campsites around the County to deal with the problem.We believe “oldplainjane” is correct. What’s needed are small secure structures coupled with kitchen, laundry, restroom facilities and on site services provided by DHHS along with Mobile Medical visits. This would be a game changer in this county. This could put an end to the decade’s long series of failed attempts by DHHS to do anything. There would be no excuse or reason for squatting in the greenways and living in the bushes.
The old system of dealing with the houseless is a proven failure. If we claimed that there aren’t allowed houseless zones in the county, we would be lying. The most blatant area, which is basically allowed anarchy
of houselessness is located in the city of Eureka. Just take a walk behind the Bayshore Mall. The “Devils Playground” has been Eureka’s answer to the houseless problem for years. This area is a free-for-all of illegal activities. Since it is one of the few places people without a home can set up a tent, there is a large population of Eureka citizens living in this swamp (ahem..marshland). Rapes, violent assaults, robberies and rampant drug activity are prevalent throughout the area from the foot of Del Norte Street to the Foot of Truesdale (just take a look at the press releases for ‘REPORTED’ crimes back there and it’s shocking).
This area of the city isn’t a fluke, it is by design. The “Devils Playground” is aptly named, and this is the type of solution offered so far by our County/City leaders. Can’t we do better than that?