Award for EPD at a conference in Houston because of Palco Marsh expulsion, wtf?

EPD has received an award specifically for kicking the homeless out of the Palco Marsh, which makes you really wonder who seriously misled the organization that gave out the award.

Take one look around Eureka and it’s easy to see that Ex-Police Chief Mills’ plan to kick the homeless out of PALCO marsh without a shelter, housing or another area to go to, just make the problem much worse in Eureka. The problem was bad enough at the marsh but without a viable plan and location to move people to (with the exception of the 40 people in the shipping containers), it arguably made the situation much worse,

We wonder if this organization will next be giving Trump a race-relations Award or Kim Jong Un a Human rights Award?  Thanks again Andy…………Pitiful

KIEM TV3 reports: EPD honored for efforts to address homelessness

EUREKA – Though there’s more work to be done, the Eureka Police Department and its community partners were honored for their efforts to address homelessness in the city.

The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing presented EPD, the City of Eureka and mental health providers with the 27th Herman Goldstein Award at a conference in Houston.

The award recognizes groups for innovative and effective policing. EPD was specifically highlighted for vacating the Palco Marsh and establishing the Mobile Intervention Services or MIST team.

Chief Steve Watson said dozens of people contributed to these efforts and he wants the community to continue building on that success. He added, “Even though we’re a smaller somewhat isolated community here on the North Coast, the fact that we are looking outside of our limited exposure here to modern broad based policing practices like problem oriented policing and thinking outside the box, understanding the importance of close collaboration with community partners, that it’s not all just about the police department, that you have to bring all the stakeholders together to address these kind of issues, I think that’s the key takeaway here.”



AHHA, therefore, requests that Eureka withdraw its RFP for a “day center”

Humboldt County, and its economic and administrative center, the city of Eureka, has a large population of un-housed families and individuals.  As a result, complaints have arisen from the Eureka business community that the homeless, who have no real place to go, are creating an untidy environment.  The city has appointed one half time position to address this situation.  That position is in the police department and is filled by a person with no apparent background or expertise in homeless issues.  Eureka, like the county, offers no housing options for the people on the streets.  It appears that the more or less unspoken strategy of these local governments is to make life in this community so difficult for the homeless that they will simply “self-deport.”  Other local governments throughout the nation initially adopted that same strategy but many are now recognizing that that is untenable and are working with their own resources and volunteers to provide housing.  Humboldt refuses to seek much of the financial assistance offered by the federal government and generally does not try to work with volunteer organizations.  Indeed Eureka and Humboldt have so alienated the volunteer entities that they have not been able to comply with the federally mandated “Point in Time” count to ascertain the true number of homeless within their boundaries.  Reliable estimates are that there are presently thousands of homeless within the county.

Over the years the Eureka police sought to encourage/coerce these people to congregate in the Palco Marsh, a remnant of the city’s once viable lumber industry.  A little over a year ago the city evicted the approximately 400 people living in the marsh.  Prior to the eviction the city, through its police chief, promised that all the residents of the marsh would not be made to leave until there was another place for them to legally live…  The city did not keep this promise and as a result, the individuals living in the marsh became not only homeless but place less.  Earlier this year the police floated the idea of cutting off all volunteer services to this community by severely limiting parking in the neighborhood where homeless folks congregate.  The city also asked volunteer providers to refuse to supply food and emergency shelter to anyone who had not been given police supplied vouchers.  Previously the city has outlawed people sleeping in cars and begging for food and has fenced off the sidewalks on which the displaced congregated.  The city’s transportation committee did not agree with the parking proposal and the volunteer providers did not agree to cease providing services.

The city has now issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) asking for interested entities to propose means to create and operate a “day center” that would only provide a place for homeless persons to go during the day rather than being on the streets during the day.  At night, they would have to leave to sleep in the bushes, doorways, and under business eaves throughout the city. The city has made no offer to fund its proposal, has made no attempt to provide a place for the “day center” and has steadfastly refused to address the question of where the homeless might actually live.

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA) has been attempting to address the issue of homeless in Humboldt for the last few years.  AHHA is aware of the concerns of the business community, and others, who have experienced damage and are inconvenienced by the presence of the homeless community.  Homelessness is a significant problem throughout the nation and especially in areas where housing costs have risen beyond the means of many families and individuals whose income is not significantly above the average family income in the region.

AHHA recognizes that homelessness is a problem for the community as a whole and that Humboldt and Eureka are unwilling to devote any significant resources to the problem.  But AHHA also understands that the problem is not going to go away and that refusal to address it has led to great suffering and the waste of police and medical resources and to economic and social disquiet among the business community and the population as a whole.  We also recognize that creation of an unfunded “day center”, will have no positive impact on the situation.  Indeed it will almost certainly lead to costly litigation, both civil and criminal, and further community disruption.

AHHA, therefore, requests that Eureka, in cooperation with Humboldt, withdraw its request for a proposal for a “day center” and instead ask that they, in cooperation with the various concerned volunteer, business and other government entities, come forth with a proposal that will allow a meaningful solution to the problem.

As communities around the country grapple with homelessness, numerous models are developing which could be adapted to and adopted by Humboldt.  AHHA suggests that initially Humboldt and Eureka provide resources to assist the homeless community and concerned citizens to establish refuges for residents who happen to be houseless.  Initially, these refugees might begin as camps with centralized feeding, sanitary and socializing facilities.  These camps, which would not need to be in immediate proximity to residential neighborhoods but would need to provide access to social services, could start out composed of temporary shelters.  They would be as self-governing and self-policing as possible.  The initial focus of the refugees would be the implementation of a strategy of “safe, warm and dry” first and then would begin to try to develop enduring solutions.  One of the models is a transitioning of shelter housing into very low cost “tiny house” communities.  These communities would presage enabling those folks who can live independently to do so.  Many of the homeless will almost certainly require ongoing social services to deal with their physical and psychological situations.  Ultimately these steps will lead to happier, more wholesome, cheaper and far more humane situations than the current strategy of trying to drive the homeless community away.

AHHA asks Humboldt and Eureka to issue a new RFP calling for the creation of refugee communities in appropriate locations in the county.  We stand ready to assist and take responsibility for and, in conjunction with others acting in good faith, to offer leadership in this effort.

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives Board of Directors



Contact:  Edie Jessup, AHHA Board Secretary

1981 Peninsula Drive, Manila, Ca 95521



Roy Dahlberg, AHHA Board

2585 Patrick’s Pt. Dr., Trinidad CA 95570

(707) 677-0377, (916) 747-1944



Homeless numbers down 43% (wtf?) and more locally spun “alternative facts”

In 2015 we posted a number of stories about the attempts to down play the seriousness of the homeless crisis in Eureka. Particularly, we tried to emphasize “who benefits from the systematic under count of homeless/houseless”.
Check out what we said back then and read today’s story in the Times-Standard and other sources we included.
Despite what you can see with your own eyes, you’re supposed to believe that homelessness is dramatically down in Humboldt?
Shake your head laughable!


Times-Standard story: Homeless survey scrutinized

County, organizations state lack of volunteers, housing efforts led to lower count

Humboldt County has seen a large reduction in its homeless population, according to preliminary data released this week, with county officials attributing the drop to collaborative rehousing efforts, but also a reduction in volunteers who participated in the survey.

“We know this isn’t a scientifically accurate count of every homeless person in the county. It’s never been intended to be,” Humboldt County Housing Coalition co-Chairwoman and county Department of Health and Human Services Senior Program Manager Sally Hewitt said Friday. “It gives us a brief picture of a point in time with what is going on in our homeless population.”

This year’s Point-in-Time survey counted 668 homeless individuals on Feb. 28 compared to the 1,180 in the last count in 2015 and the 864 in 2013. The survey is conducted on a single day every two years and is a requirement to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hewitt said part of the reduction is due to 217 chronically homeless individuals having found permanent housing since Eureka and the county began implementing a Housing First approach to homelessness in early 2016 with the help of local landlords. Hewitt said the preliminary data also showed the number of homeless families have continued to decline as they had in the previous three counts.

However, this year’s count did not include any of the homeless population in the Garberville area after a group of regular survey volunteers refused to participate based on concerns that the funding was not helping the southern Humboldt County homeless population.

Debra Carey, vice president of Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, or AHHA, said she had been one of the volunteers who coordinated the Garberville-area county for several years. But this year, Carey said she felt that the county lacked the necessary preparation. She said she and many of the homeless individuals she had spoken to had become disgruntled that the government funding that these counts were supposed to generate were not reaching their community.

“What is this count all about if it’s not about getting the numbers to get the funds to assist this group of people?” Carey said.

Hewitt said the Department of Housing and Urban Development requires counties to deliver their counts in order to access funding available through Continuums of Care, like the county’s housing coalition. The coalition formed in 2004 and is composed of local government agencies and other entities that seek to reduce homelessness.

The amount of federal funding a community receives is not determined by the number of homeless individuals counted, but rather by “an extremely complicated process” involving reviewing data of available jobs and population sizes, according to Hewitt. However, Hewitt said the Point-in-Time count can be used by organizations to try and leverage funding from the state.

As to why southern Humboldt County communities are not receiving the federal funding, Hewitt said that the funding is only available for ongoing programs such as Redwood Community Action Agency, Arcata House Partnership, the county and Humboldt Bay Housing. The majority of the federal funding must be used for subsidizing rent and only a small portion can be used for administrative costs, which Hewitt said can be a limiting factor for small grassroots organizations.

“If there was a group in some of the outlying areas that had the infrastructure to handle the amount of funding, it would be wonderful for them to apply,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt said that county volunteers did attempt to survey Garberville homeless residents, but said that none were willing to be surveyed.

AHHA President Nezzie Wade did participate in this year’s count in Eureka, but said she did so not in her capacity with her organization. Like Carey, Wade said she felt that the federal funds were only being used to help a small number of people in the homeless communities. She and Carey also expressed concerns about the size of the survey and the lack of planning by the coalition for this year’s count, which is why AHHA did not associate itself with it.

“The month before it was supposed to happen, they started talking about it,” Wade said of the count. “… We talked about it and said this is not an organized effort. This is not something we would not want to subscribe to.” Hewitt said that AHHA’s concerns were valid, but that they did not tell the full story.

She said they had been planning this count a year earlier and were planning to use a new approach. Rather than having every homeless individual take surveys in order to be counted, Hewitt said they were planning on doing a head count and then scientifically selecting a sample of the homeless population to take the survey. They would then apply that data to entire homeless population. The coalition was proceeding with this plan until the last two months of 2016 when the Housing and Urban Development Department told them that they could not use that method, Hewitt said.

The department gave them the options of doing the count as they had in years past or doing an observation count. The latter option would take place from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. in January and would involve volunteers counting homeless individuals as they sleep.

“Well, in a city where they tend to sleep out in the open, it’s relatively easy to count people,” Hewitt said. “If you’re talking about going into the woods in Humboldt County in the dark and wandering around with a flashlight and trying to get homeless people awake enough to see how many there are in their tent or having to open their tent flaps to count them, it just got more and more ridiculous.”

After back and forth disputes, Hewitt said the coalition decided in January to perform the count as they had done since 2009.

“We were scrambling and we were looking for every volunteer we could,” Hewitt said. “I’m glad some of [the AHHA members] decided to participate because we count on them.”

Hewitt said more than 100 volunteers participated, with about 80 acting as surveyors.

Wade also stated that police enforcement on homeless individuals may have led to reduced numbers in this year’s report. Wade said she had contacted many of the homeless individuals living along Broadway in Eureka and nearby cross streets to let them know about the count. But Wade said these streets were near empty by the time they surveyed the area on Feb. 28, and said that many of the homeless were told by police that they could not stay there for the next three days.

“That was quite a coincidence,” Wade said.

Eureka Police Department Public Information Officer Brittany Powell said that Chief Andrew Mills had heard from the county that there was a rumor that a law enforcement agency — but not the EPD — had cleared out the homeless individuals.(sounds like a Mills tactic to the Examiner)

“We have not heard anything more about this and there is nothing to substantiate the allegation,” Powell wrote in an email to the Times-Standard. “EPD and the (Mobile Intervention & Services Team) assisted in the Point-in-Time count prior to the actual count by providing training, resources, and identifying locations to check.”

more local spin:


Tales of Eureka’s “successes”?????

blue heron

The North Coast News recently had an article about the City of Eureka sharing “insight” with other cities regarding Eureka’s response to homelessness.  From the article, “Slattery said now after seeing improvements in homelessness, unemployment, and financial education, as well as in child services. He said they are now heading to the League of Cities Conference to share what has worked…..”

What has worked?!?  No, really, what HAS worked?  As one drives into Eureka from either north or south the sight of Eureka’s success is all around.  Let’s take just a couple examples.  We’ll start with the Blue Heron Hotel, which had been owned by the slimy slumlord Floyd Squires. Eureka spent time and money to take Squires to court and get the building closed down and boarded up.  That was accomplished over a year and a half ago.  But what has happened with the hotel since?  Not a thing.  Driving by the doors and windows are still boarded up, and the building sits empty.  Not too far away hidden in the greenbelts are the former residents of that almost unlivable hotel.  Eureka could have fixed up the building and forced Squires to pay for improvements or lose ownership.  Instead, the residents were forced out on the street and the buildings sit empty.

But wait….that’s just one building, right?  Wrong.  Even though the Blue Heron has been sitting empty for over a year there’s going to be new competition.  The Budget Motel was closed and as we wrote about before Eureka didn’t take the proper steps to see that the building was fixed up and utilized for housing.  The residents of the Blue Heron and Budget Motel didn’t just go out and find affordable housing……because there isn’t any.  Those two ugly and unhealthy properties provided a service in Eureka.  Even though we don’t advocate allowing slumlords to continue taking advantage of the poor through filthy/sub par housing, when one of these properties is just “shut down” there is no housing for many of the residents to move to.  These folks don’t just leave our community because there’s no affordable housing.  They don’t have the means.  So, they are left to fend for themselves in the greenbelts of Eureka.

Is this one of the successful measures Miles Slattery will tout as he tells the tales of Eureka’s “successes” in taking on the issue of homelessness?

homeless in the brush

Here’s some thing “you” can do to help prevent more homelessness

There is a saying: “all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing”.  If people don’t vote Yes on Measure V,  that is what will be happening in Humboldt.  I define evil as that which is deliberately designed to make others suffer for the benefit of the perpetrator.  Right now, without an ordinance to stop them, investment corporations and greedy owners are unfairly and unsustainably charging more and more money to people who own their houses in manufactured home parks.  By and large these people who can’t afford property to put their homes on; they are beholden to park owners for their lot.

Therefore they are subject to attack.   These home owners pay a tax similar to other home owners, then they also pay the park owner’s taxes.  They pay school and fire bonds, road, power and sewer taxes, and they pay for all of that in their park.  When their roof leaks, or plumbing goes out, there’s no landlord repairing it — They must pay just like other homeowners.

While it is true that park owners deserve a fair return on their investment ( and Measure V allows for that), the home owners are co-investors; without their homes, the park has no income potential.  We voters have a unique chance to change what amounts to a feudal system into one that permits homeowners to live in their neighborhoods with dignity, while providing park owners with a very viable income.

Wilma Mendes, Fortuna

Other than Linda Atkins, where are the local progressives?

Do the math………..Eureka’s doesn’t add up

guest post by Richard Salzman

The Palco Marsh has been cleared of the roughly 150 people camping there. While 40 new beds were made available by private individuals in the converted shipping containers, those are only for 90 days at a time. That means that up to 110 people are now out looking for new place to sleep. Look for some of them to end up in an alley, gulch or doorway near you.

tiny house

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA-humco. org) is the only nongovernmental organization offering an ongoing solution by way of a sanctuary camp and eventual transition to a Tiny House Village. I urge you to join me in supporting AHHA and encouraging the Eureka City Council and the Board of Supervisors to work with them in a productive manner.

tiny house village

“Everyone has a human right to a safe and legal place to live.”

Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives
“Safe Warm and Dry First!”

AHHA-HumCo Vision Statement
“Everyone has a human right to a safe and legal place to live.”

AHHA-HumCo Mission Statement
“AHHA provides information, education, advocacy and policy development for affordable housing with the homeless in Humboldt County.
AHHA facilitates implementation of models and assists in operations with community groups.”

AHHA Guiding Principles
– Everyone has the right to Safe, Legal Shelter with Dignity and Respect.
– Being Safe, Warm and Dry First! is a required condition, to achieve a healthy, productive life.
– The whole community benefits when everyone feels safe and respected.
– A healthy community provides opportunities for those less fortunate and shares its resources.
– The lack of affordable housing is the main cause of homelessness.
– The definition of affordable housing needs to change to reflect the needs of the houseless and unsheltered. Alternative affordable housing options give houseless people choices and create less impact on Humboldt County.
– County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) could be more effectively distributed by implementing a variety of housing options proven to be successful in other areas.
– Participants in these alternative options would be more self-sufficient.
– AHHA will continue to declare a Shelter Crisis using CA Code 7.8 Section 8698-8698.2 “Declaration of a shelter crisis” which means a significant number of persons are without shelter, resulting in a threat to their health and safety.[CA Govt Code 8698 (d)]

AHHA Goals include developing a variety of affordable homeless housing alternatives
– Resident and Non-profit Co-Managed Micro Housing Villages with community kitchens, gardens, rest-rooms/showers and micro-businesses.
– Campgrounds throughout the county, located near to services.
– Camp sanctuaries for cars, in tents, in RVs, open tent camping, and bike and ride.
– Church camping in tents, cars, RVs.
– Zoning variances to allow residential camping and micro housing on residential, city and county properties. Foreclosures and land trust opportunities.
– Rest Areas; places for legal, safe sleep, open 24/7.
– Locations in County and City parks, schools, vacant buildings, and private property.
– Hygiene Stations: showers, restroom, water, waste disposal and lockers.
– Youth Camps, Farm-Worker Housing and Nomadic Campgrounds.
– Active engagement of our community and organizations to build strong, collaborative Working Groups, successful, and community coalitions that create housing/shelter alternatives for homeless and maximize affordable housing options.

The AHHA General Assembly meets First Saturday of the month

11:30 am social gathering; Noon to 2:00 pm meeting

Jefferson Community Center at 1000 B Street in Eureka

HOW we work together is as important as WHAT we create in working together. We are striving to be and to develop collaborative individuals and communities as we build affordable homeless housing alternatives. All are welcome to join us.
AHHA is made up of a Board of Directors, Working Groups/Committees who work with each other and the larger Humboldt community on selecting sites, outreach, fundraising, media and reaching our goals, whether longer term or more short term, like creating sanctuary camps and micro housing villages.

Is Eureka preparing for an all out war against homeless people?

homeless bust 1

Asked whether City Councilwoman Kim Bergel was ready to deploy police to clear out the area, she took a long sigh and said, “Yes … BUT.”…….The “BUT” is that they want to create as much political cover for each other as possible, claiming that having social workers in the camp everyday is somehow the equivalent for supplying a safe shelter.

It’s no secret that police Chief Mills is “chomping at the bit” to unleash a military style assault on the estimated 250 to 300 people camping at the Palco Marsh. This will be a very unproductive and potentially very dangerous move. We here at the Examiner can see how this plan will go wrong on every level. Running these folks out of the Palco Marsh is going to send them deep into Eureka’s neighborhood greenbelts. We hear there will be organized resistance to this military style police action and no can be sure that people won’t be injured.

homeless bust 2

Unfortunately, with Mayor Frank Jager teasing the idea of an actual sanctioned shelter everyone’s hopes were raised, but don’t be fooled; they will never willing allow a real sanctuary homeless camp. Their plan is just to move them out of the way of the trail construction; they don’t give a damn if these human beings with no place to live end up in our neighborhoods.  In fact it’s clear to us that the City does not value these people’s lives at all.

If you care at all about this crisis the time to act is now! Demand sanctioned camps in Eureka for these unsheltered human beings!