Impressions of a Homeless Meeting

70 people gathered in the Garberville Vet’s Hall

to discuss homelessness in Southern Humboldt.

Words from the residents.  Words from the  homeless.

Some spoke of compassion.  “The solution has to come from our hearts,” long time resident Cocoa said.  “There’s humans in everyone of those bodies.”

Others spoke of the pervasiveness of the homeless problem.  Kellie L. said this is “Not a big deal just here, but a big deal everywhere.”

“The homeless are not one people anymore than we [here she gestured at the diverse crowd] are one people.” Some act badly and most don’t.  She argued that the worst offenders are often the speed addicts.  Police must arrest the dealers and continue doing so until they are discouraged.

Several speakers including Julia Minton made the point that the transients come here like migrant workers.  And like migrant workers they get stigmatized and lumped together so that the misdeeds of one become the misdeeds of them all.

The owner of Feather Rose, a new 2nd hand store in Redway, spoke  about the “litter, graffiti and smoke coming into…” her shop.  She explains how she tries to be respectful and then ended with what appeared to be a wide spread complaint, “It’s hard to try so hard to be respectful and not be treated respectfully.

Another woman, like many who spoke, talked of having “compassion for those in need”  but also being “worried for the safety of her family.” She talked of being approached and feeling threatened by panhandlers, and of loose dogs that have come after her.  She also described working hard to provide porta potties in Redway for sporting events, leaving them open so that those in need could use them, only to discover that someone had made a terrible mess in one.  She voiced the concern of many when she said, “We who live here have to feel comfortable coming to town!”

Jim Truitt said that before a solution to the problem can be found we as a community have to agree that the transients are here to stay.  “We are not going to get rid of the situation…Its not an eradication problem; its a management problem.”

John Jennings spoke for many in the audience when he talked about the feeling many SoHummers have that they don’t get much help from the County.  “When I was unemployed, I didn’t have money to go up to the unemployment office…We need more services here.”

Roberta, from the Senior housing, said that the seniors are having a very hard time with the transients.  “The police won’t do anything…There is a nightly parade behind the library…loose dogs and dogfights.”  Seniors are afraid to come out.

One of the homeless young women spoke out about what a lovely place this is and how if they had a place with a bathroom, they could police themselves.

A young man who came here to save Richardson Grove fell in love with the place.  He urged that there be a public bathroom mentioning that in a power outage many businesses are not open and public bathrooms are unavailable even to the paying public.

Patti Rose spoke of Betty Chin’s public shower and bathroom in Eureka and how 1 year after it was built it is still a success and even the skeptics have been won over.

Cocoa spoke again suggesting a Compassion Patrol that would help people and keep them from trashing our community’s values.

At the end of the night, some of the residents and some of the homeless left

and some of the residents and some of the homeless picked up chairs and swept the floor.

Ernie’s view.

Eric’s view.

North Coast Journal’s preview.

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57 comments

  • There is a difference between being homeless and being a bum. I lived in Long Beach and for a time was homeless. I lived in my vehicle and looked for and found a job. I know what it feels like to be homeless, hungry and alone but I didn’t stop trying. I have compassion for the homeless, however, when I can no longer go to a store, library, Doctors office or anyplace else in town without getting swarmed by these “homeless” folks who, have cells phones and laptop computers and usually alcoholic beverages it only makes me angry. I have lived and worked here for over 4 years and the number of so called “homeless” people has sky rocketed. If you have money for a phone, laptop, booze and drugs (don’t kid yourself the majority of them are the dealers) then perhaps you shouldn’t be labeled “homeless” maybe you should be called what you are…..a bum, pan handlers. You can’t possibly believe that all these people are from the area, some came for reggae on the river and never left…ask them they will tell you. I have compassion, I have a heart and a job and a place to live….but it wasn’t always like that. so please do not think just because someone is not living inside, that they are homeless…it does a great disservice to those who are really homeless and hurting.

  • Some who have become homeless for whatever reason remain homeless because they can’t come up with the chunk of money required for first and last months’ rent plus security deposit. Some of them have managed to hang on to their phones, laptops, and camping gear. Some are working or collecting unemployment or on SSI due to various types of disabilities and so have some money for food and laundry.

  • Some who have become homeless for whatever reason remain homeless because they can’t come up with the chunk of money required for first and last months’ rent plus security deposit. Some of them have managed to hang on to their phones, laptops, and camping gear. Some are working or collecting unemployment or on SSI due to various types of disabilities and so have some money for food and laundry.

  • Pingback: Vets’ Park/Homeless Issue Meeting Tonight « Sohum Parlance II

  • Pingback: Vets’ Park/Homeless Issue Meeting Tonight « Sohum Parlance II

  • The word I use for the ones causing trouble is “transient,” meaning they are on the move and this is a stopover for however long. There is a type, and I feel very troubled stereotyping anyone, who is a male, white, twenty something, crew cut, cocky attitude and posture, baseball cap, and smooth talker. Check out the photo of the guy who ripped off Emerald Tech. They use hard drugs recreationally but aren’t necessarily addicted. Good senses of humor used to ingratiate themselves with their next target they are going to rip off.

    So what to do. I agree with Barb from many blogs ago who advised to speak to the homeless and/or transients once a week during a town run. Let them know who we are and find out who they are. I did this once and saw that it was a pretty diverse group.

    I sense that this surge is part of the “pot rush” as much as it is a deteriorating society and economy. May I say: We’ve brought a lot of this on ourselves through our own cocky attitude about ganja growing. We’ve put on huge concerts, let outsiders into the “bubble,” and then wonder why some stayed, including some thieves.

    While I do not favor Emerald City, I do think some form of self government is in order to attempt to foresee things like our giant invitation to come and engage in an illegal industry. Did we think no criminals would show up?

    So bravo to town hall meetings and take the individual initiative to get ourselves educated.

  • The word I use for the ones causing trouble is “transient,” meaning they are on the move and this is a stopover for however long. There is a type, and I feel very troubled stereotyping anyone, who is a male, white, twenty something, crew cut, cocky attitude and posture, baseball cap, and smooth talker. Check out the photo of the guy who ripped off Emerald Tech. They use hard drugs recreationally but aren’t necessarily addicted. Good senses of humor used to ingratiate themselves with their next target they are going to rip off.

    So what to do. I agree with Barb from many blogs ago who advised to speak to the homeless and/or transients once a week during a town run. Let them know who we are and find out who they are. I did this once and saw that it was a pretty diverse group.

    I sense that this surge is part of the “pot rush” as much as it is a deteriorating society and economy. May I say: We’ve brought a lot of this on ourselves through our own cocky attitude about ganja growing. We’ve put on huge concerts, let outsiders into the “bubble,” and then wonder why some stayed, including some thieves.

    While I do not favor Emerald City, I do think some form of self government is in order to attempt to foresee things like our giant invitation to come and engage in an illegal industry. Did we think no criminals would show up?

    So bravo to town hall meetings and take the individual initiative to get ourselves educated.

  • While were tryin to figure out who’s who and who deserves this or that, could we just build a freakin bathroom? I mean like, build it and thats that. next…

  • While were tryin to figure out who’s who and who deserves this or that, could we just build a freakin bathroom? I mean like, build it and thats that. next…

  • Two questions:

    Were there any elected representatives, candidates, or their reps present?

    Who was “disrupting the meeting before she left of her own volition (I’m really scared for her after tonight)” as noted by Eric Kirk? You can contact me privately if you like on #2.

    • Charles,
      Both Clif and Estelle were there. Estelle for nearly the whole meeting. Clif for a substantial part.

      The person who left was a well known and loved local lady who has mental health issues. People’s fears were that she would hurt herself not that someone else would hurt her.

  • Two questions:

    Were there any elected representatives, candidates, or their reps present?

    Who was “disrupting the meeting before she left of her own volition (I’m really scared for her after tonight)” as noted by Eric Kirk? You can contact me privately if you like on #2.

    • Charles,
      Both Clif and Estelle were there. Estelle for nearly the whole meeting. Clif for a substantial part.

      The person who left was a well known and loved local lady who has mental health issues. People’s fears were that she would hurt herself not that someone else would hurt her.

  • Just build a bathroom you say? This will cure something? I disagree. Many moons ago when I was young I worked for a park district that had bathrooms in an area that was nearly overrun with transients. The restrooms were a crime magnet and many bad things happened in them and around them. We had the restrooms vandalized weekly and had to install huge metal doors to close every night, the transients started crapping on the doors for fun. Murders and bodies found at the restrooms were common as well. Solving a problem starts with enforcement of laws using the one agency that can make a difference, the Sheriff. Providing anything that, in this case, is unfunded is a problem waiting to happen. The question is to encourage or discourage.

    • I don’t think building a bathroom is going to solve the homeless problem, I do think it would be great to have a bathroom , a nice bathroom,for everyone.

    • Good point Elk Ridge. A similar scene has been repeated in many towns.

      Build it and they will come.

      • We didn’t build it, and they came anyway. And, as the children’s book so concisely sums up the issue “Everyone Poops.” Not providing a place to do it means people without other options will end up pooping in places that are inconvenient / unhealthy for the community and the environment.

        And again, Willow Creek has an excellent, clean, well-maintained public bathroom, yet they are not overrun with homeless people. So the “build it and they will come” fear seems to be overblown, to say the least.

  • Just build a bathroom you say? This will cure something? I disagree. Many moons ago when I was young I worked for a park district that had bathrooms in an area that was nearly overrun with transients. The restrooms were a crime magnet and many bad things happened in them and around them. We had the restrooms vandalized weekly and had to install huge metal doors to close every night, the transients started crapping on the doors for fun. Murders and bodies found at the restrooms were common as well. Solving a problem starts with enforcement of laws using the one agency that can make a difference, the Sheriff. Providing anything that, in this case, is unfunded is a problem waiting to happen. The question is to encourage or discourage.

    • I don’t think building a bathroom is going to solve the homeless problem, I do think it would be great to have a bathroom , a nice bathroom,for everyone.

    • Good point Elk Ridge. A similar scene has been repeated in many towns.

      Build it and they will come.

      • We didn’t build it, and they came anyway. And, as the children’s book so concisely sums up the issue “Everyone Poops.” Not providing a place to do it means people without other options will end up pooping in places that are inconvenient / unhealthy for the community and the environment.

        And again, Willow Creek has an excellent, clean, well-maintained public bathroom, yet they are not overrun with homeless people. So the “build it and they will come” fear seems to be overblown, to say the least.

  • Willow Creek has a very clean, well-maintained bathroom. It is used by homeless folks / transients, by tourists, and by folks who are just driving past.

    I don’t know who funded its construction or pays for maintenance, but they’re obviously doing a great job. It’s been there for quite a while, I haven’t noticed any vandalism or other problems, and it’s always been quite clean when I’ve used it.

    And no, Willow Creek has not become a “magnet” for homeless folks or transients, simply because there is a public bathroom.

  • Willow Creek has a very clean, well-maintained bathroom. It is used by homeless folks / transients, by tourists, and by folks who are just driving past.

    I don’t know who funded its construction or pays for maintenance, but they’re obviously doing a great job. It’s been there for quite a while, I haven’t noticed any vandalism or other problems, and it’s always been quite clean when I’ve used it.

    And no, Willow Creek has not become a “magnet” for homeless folks or transients, simply because there is a public bathroom.

  • What we have is a private property problem. They are swept off private property (the bush) and they end up on the business’s door steps, so our small police force are called out again, so they go back to the bush, and the cycle repeats it’s self.The defination of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.There is no public bathroom.No place for people to be.We need a campground with a toliet,shower,garbage. North and South Campgrounds! They wont be on private property..they wont be on the front steps of the business’s, they wont be going to the bathroom down town. Simple Fix…Is there a will?? for if there is, there is a way. I Love this community and believe they can solve this problem!!!

  • What we have is a private property problem. They are swept off private property (the bush) and they end up on the business’s door steps, so our small police force are called out again, so they go back to the bush, and the cycle repeats it’s self.The defination of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.There is no public bathroom.No place for people to be.We need a campground with a toliet,shower,garbage. North and South Campgrounds! They wont be on private property..they wont be on the front steps of the business’s, they wont be going to the bathroom down town. Simple Fix…Is there a will?? for if there is, there is a way. I Love this community and believe they can solve this problem!!!

  • Ernie I heard that woman say she bought it for the whole community, business, tourist,vets, EVERYONE!! You are a part of the problem, you only write what you want people to hear. She didn’t say she bought it for the homeless!! These blogs are a joke for you really didn’t write what was said. I also hear patti rose say that woman had helped alot of our local homeless that are no longer homeless, no word of that too..
    This will be the last blog I will be reading. They breed hate in our community.We have a class war going on and it’s caused by people in this community, shame on you bloggers! You are just a waste of time, and never have the facts right.Sound familiar? just like the media..
    Bye,Bye~

    • These blogs are a joke

      Totally 😉

    • Den Mom, It is hard to write down every word at the meeting but you did pick up an important point I missed that Patti knew that some homeless had been helped and were no longer homeless. I remember hearing that. I don’t know why it didn’t make my notes.

      I think you appear to be under the impression that I’m favoring the anti bathroom idea. I’m personally for it. I try to give a fair report of meetings though and balance information/ideas provided by all sides.

  • Ernie I heard that woman say she bought it for the whole community, business, tourist,vets, EVERYONE!! You are a part of the problem, you only write what you want people to hear. She didn’t say she bought it for the homeless!! These blogs are a joke for you really didn’t write what was said. I also hear patti rose say that woman had helped alot of our local homeless that are no longer homeless, no word of that too..
    This will be the last blog I will be reading. They breed hate in our community.We have a class war going on and it’s caused by people in this community, shame on you bloggers! You are just a waste of time, and never have the facts right.Sound familiar? just like the media..
    Bye,Bye~

    • These blogs are a joke

      Totally 😉

    • Den Mom, It is hard to write down every word at the meeting but you did pick up an important point I missed that Patti knew that some homeless had been helped and were no longer homeless. I remember hearing that. I don’t know why it didn’t make my notes.

      I think you appear to be under the impression that I’m favoring the anti bathroom idea. I’m personally for it. I try to give a fair report of meetings though and balance information/ideas provided by all sides.

  • Welcome to the real world of American Capitalism. I love it when a social system that’s been worshiping at the feat of corruption has to deal with the blowback. Cry your eyes out Branscomb. It makes my day. Maybe all your sympathy tears will was away all their crap. That way you can become the hero of Garberville.

    • Joe Blow. would you please be more clear in your blog. It sounds like your pro capitol then maybe your anti-capitol. what gives. also . please do not call me names for I am sensitive, Sincerely Scob Do

  • Welcome to the real world of American Capitalism. I love it when a social system that’s been worshiping at the feat of corruption has to deal with the blowback. Cry your eyes out Branscomb. It makes my day. Maybe all your sympathy tears will was away all their crap. That way you can become the hero of Garberville.

    • Joe Blow. would you please be more clear in your blog. It sounds like your pro capitol then maybe your anti-capitol. what gives. also . please do not call me names for I am sensitive, Sincerely Scob Do

  • ahh scob, you mean like when you called me yellow jello? get over it.. Man up.

    • Den Mom, I can laugh at myself , this is my strength. You on the other hand are way to self asorbed. You think your opinions are the only correct ones. You cannot see past the bone in your nose

  • ahh scob, you mean like when you called me yellow jello? get over it.. Man up.

    • Den Mom, I can laugh at myself , this is my strength. You on the other hand are way to self asorbed. You think your opinions are the only correct ones. You cannot see past the bone in your nose

  • Back in the early 90s the county planning commission looked into transient camps in an attempt to address a state requirement that the housing element of the general plan contain some language regarding the transient population. We could not find any camps that were operating at that time. The migrant labor camps were just that. There was a transient camp for a short while in an old private campground/trailer park on the Mendocino coast but it had closed.

    The camp on the coast as I recall had tried to institute a no drug, including alcohol , policy but was unable to effectively enforce it. Back when Gary Holder was running for Sheriff he told me that the drug of choice for the street people was alcohol. He felt that if the gas stations would stop selling 40 oz. bottles of malt liquor it would be helpful.

    There are a significant number of street people who are not transient. Many of them are wary of predators that prey on the weak and will not utilize group camps.

    While I know that growers will bring in friends and family to process the harvest it is unclear to me how many hire transients. Its hard for me to believe that a lot of people are going to bring strangers into their scene. But i really don’t know. It would seem to me that if growers are going to use “migrant labor” they need to provide shelter and facilities when the workers are here and not just dump them on the street when their shift is done if that’s what is going on.

  • Back in the early 90s the county planning commission looked into transient camps in an attempt to address a state requirement that the housing element of the general plan contain some language regarding the transient population. We could not find any camps that were operating at that time. The migrant labor camps were just that. There was a transient camp for a short while in an old private campground/trailer park on the Mendocino coast but it had closed.

    The camp on the coast as I recall had tried to institute a no drug, including alcohol , policy but was unable to effectively enforce it. Back when Gary Holder was running for Sheriff he told me that the drug of choice for the street people was alcohol. He felt that if the gas stations would stop selling 40 oz. bottles of malt liquor it would be helpful.

    There are a significant number of street people who are not transient. Many of them are wary of predators that prey on the weak and will not utilize group camps.

    While I know that growers will bring in friends and family to process the harvest it is unclear to me how many hire transients. Its hard for me to believe that a lot of people are going to bring strangers into their scene. But i really don’t know. It would seem to me that if growers are going to use “migrant labor” they need to provide shelter and facilities when the workers are here and not just dump them on the street when their shift is done if that’s what is going on.

  • Is there any chance we could arrange for a public bathroom at the Sheriff’s substation. In Healdsburg the public bathroom is right inside the police station and, as you might imagine, there is never any troublle there and I feel safe going to there at any time. It is right in the lobby, you don’t have to talk to anyone or check in or anything but they have a clear view of the comings and goings of the public. It has always struck me as the perfect solution. What do people think?

    • Our Sheriff’s station is manned all the time but nice idea. Maybe we could come up with something similar.

      • I think you meant to say “Our sheriff’s station ISN’T manned all the time….”

        And I will add, one last time: What about Willow Creek? There is a very clean, well-maintained public restroom there, right in the center of town, that is used by all kinds of people — locals, transients, and tourists alike. I don’t know where the money came from for construction, or how maintenance is handled, but clearly they are doing something right.

        Does anyone know the details of how the Willow Creek facility came to be and how they have been able to maintain it so well? Unless I’m missing something it sure seems like that facility could be a model for what could be done in SoHum.

    • Interesting idea PenelopeGail. Since staff are on patrol much of the time, place a porta-potty in the sub-stations parking lot.

  • Is there any chance we could arrange for a public bathroom at the Sheriff’s substation. In Healdsburg the public bathroom is right inside the police station and, as you might imagine, there is never any troublle there and I feel safe going to there at any time. It is right in the lobby, you don’t have to talk to anyone or check in or anything but they have a clear view of the comings and goings of the public. It has always struck me as the perfect solution. What do people think?

    • Our Sheriff’s station is manned all the time but nice idea. Maybe we could come up with something similar.

      • I think you meant to say “Our sheriff’s station ISN’T manned all the time….”

        And I will add, one last time: What about Willow Creek? There is a very clean, well-maintained public restroom there, right in the center of town, that is used by all kinds of people — locals, transients, and tourists alike. I don’t know where the money came from for construction, or how maintenance is handled, but clearly they are doing something right.

        Does anyone know the details of how the Willow Creek facility came to be and how they have been able to maintain it so well? Unless I’m missing something it sure seems like that facility could be a model for what could be done in SoHum.

    • Interesting idea PenelopeGail. Since staff are on patrol much of the time, place a porta-potty in the sub-stations parking lot.

  • Pingback: Trash and the Transient Troubles « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

  • Pingback: Trash and the Transient Troubles « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

  • Just a small service center would go far to HELP !!!!!!!!!

  • Just a small service center would go far to HELP !!!!!!!!!

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