Conditions in the Eureka Homeless Camp ‘Heart Breaking’
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I need to break people’s hearts. I need to be able to share with them the cruel horror of the marsh. It is the coldest, windiest, wettest place around here and yet this is where our homeless are pushed into. Well, EPD [Eureka Police Department] does not tell them to go there exactly but they do say it is the one place they will not enforce the no camping laws.
I have walked through there offering to take people out to the shelter or the rescue mission. No takers. They will not leave behind their dogs. They will not be separated from their partners as the Rescue Mission requires. Some have had very bad experiences with shelters. One woman said she was raped,, even though it did not happen up here she protects herself by never entering another ‘shelter’. And so they stay in the marsh where trails have become rivers and grassy areas are lakes.
The…water does go down but tents are left damaged by the winds. Repaired tents usually do not stand up to the next storm.
Many are women. Many are older. Many are tired, broken in spirit by strings of bad luck and poor choices. Yes, there are drugs. Yes, there is mental illness presenting the chicken and the egg effect. Which came first? When the storms hits does it matter? Human beings cold and wet, cold and wetter, then colder, then getting sick, then sick and cold and wet because they are in the worst place, The Marsh.
Dry socks are brought down, blankets, tarps, warm jackets but as long as they stay there these offerings are just the smallest short term patch jobs.
Why don’t they leave? Why don’t they go somewhere else? Because there is no where else they can go to. Would you leave your dog behind? Would you risk the sum of the possessions you had to leave to a place you did not know? Would you in the cruelest of conditions leave your partner?
Eureka City Hall has been reluctant to declare a Shelter Emergency but it will be up for discussion at the next meeting. Discussion. Discussion does not keep one dry in a storm but it is a step in the right direction. Many neighbors and citizens are asking the City help these people, to provide them a safe a better place to be. We have parking lots more sheltered and better drained than the marsh.
Kym, I need to break their hearts because that what it is down there. It’s a heart breaking situation.