Placerville Targeting Homeless

Please See Letter Below


Dr. Mary Maaga, one of our Mercy Way Rescue pastors, has written an open letter to the Community of Placerville, in response to the recent and on-going, crackdown on the homeless people, especially on Broadway.

After denying the temporary use permit extension of Hangtown Haven, the tent city, last winter, the city has passed 2 new ordinances about panhandling and camping. They have been issuing tickets and confiscating the belongs of the homeless. Now, the Community Resource Center will be closing on Broadway. They have partnered with the mayor in the past. Most troubling is the continued comments from the fairly new Chief of Police, Scott Heller, that all of the homeless need to go to Sacramento or San Francisco or do time on the installment plan, 30 days at a time.

On Friday March 28th, 2014, it was discovered that the city is paying for the transportation of the homeless out of Placerville and that the police have been stopping people who appear homeless and telling them to leave the city limits!

If one looks at the City of Placerville approved building plans, there are 2 hotels and a subdivision waiting to be built on Broadway. They have received numerous extensions over the last few years, possibly to ride out the poor economy. Coincidence?

The winter nomadic shelter and the temporary day shelter end after Monday March 31st.

It is anticipated that there will be an all-out effort to run the homeless off of Broadway and out of Placerville.

Thus, the attached letter from Pastor Mary Maaga and Pastor Frank Gates.`

If you are interested in further information, I can get you their contact information.


Open Letter to the Placerville Community
March 27, 2014
In the life of a community, like the life of an individual, there are defining moments, moments that illuminate true character. This is one such moment for Placerville. The question is whether the quirky, creative, entrepreneurial, openhearted personality of our City, which is part of our gold rush heritage, can extend to include our homeless. Right now the answer is no. As of April 1st the generous wintertime hospitality of our area Churches will come to an end. In addition, the City sponsored day shelter at Christ Like Services will also close. Hangtown Haven, the legal homeless encampment, was closed last November. Next month, the Community Resource Center will close its doors. Our elected officials and others in leadership are operating with a tough love mentality that believes the following:
1) Providing shelter and resources makes the homeless lazy.
2) By eliminating legal camping and outlawing panhandling, the homeless will be encouraged to get jobs and stop using alcohol and drugs in order to have money enough to have permanent shelter.
3) Knowing that there are no more handouts will drive the homeless away from Placerville.
Maybe there will be a few success stories with this approach. The question remains, what about those for whom tough love can’t work? These people include the mentally ill, chronic elderly alcoholics, soldiers suffering from PTSD, young people “graduated” from the foster care system at 18 with no life skills and no family to turn to for guidance, ex-convicts required to stay in our county, addicts with brain damage from drug use, women escaping violent environments with limited education and devastated self-esteem. Given the right programs there’s a chance that the foster care kids and the abused women can have traditional lives. But for many of the others the life they have now is the life they will always have. They have nowhere to go but here. They are members of our community, many with generational connections to our City. What they need from our community is the right to call Placerville home, which is to say a place to sleep at night and a place to be during the day that is legal and safe.

We understand that not everyone is called, as we at Mercy Way Rescue Church are, to love and know intimately these broken desperate people. We get it that business owners don’t want our people loitering downtown. But where then are they to go? The new Chief of Police told one of us that his intention is to have our homeless brothers and sisters either “get out of town or live life on the installment plan thirty days at a time in the County Jail.” Is that the best Placerville can do?
Pastor Frank Gates,
Dr. Mary Maaga, and
The Ministry Team at Mercy Way Rescue Church
1750 Broadway * Placerville, CA * 95667

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