McKinleyville woman reveals that Humboldt’s homeless strategy lacks a plan

As you may recall, the City of Eureka and the County of  Humboldt held a joint meeting in late January to discuss their plans to finally deal with Humboldt’s houseless epidemic.

It came as absolutely no surprise to anyone that the City and the County spent a hefty sum on a consulting firm’s report that lacked any real teeth, and as of yet has made ZERO impact on the homeless problem. There is even reason to believe that there will be ZERO future impact as a result of this joint meeting and joint inaction by the County and Eureka.

A member of the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook group, one Sherry Pavlich, points out a lot of the reasons why that might be the case. Here are two of those reasons, taken from the Facebook page.

a) There is no business plan or budget for implementing such a plan…so no one knows how much this might cost or even an estimate for the 30 individuals

d) With this Rapid Rehousing concept there is not enough DHHS staffing to actual monitor these individuals on what may be a daily basis

(Scroll to the bottom of this post to read Pavlich’s post in full.)

Hmm, sounds like Humboldt County government at its finest! Also mentioned in Ms. Pavlich’s Facebook post is that Eureka and the County paid $80,000 for a useless report that they are apparently making no use of – and likely never seriously intended to. Why do we say that? We think Pavlich put it best when she closed her Facebook exposé with this:

So folks at this point there is no plan….just an $80,000 feasibility study that was based (most likely) on this Rapid Rehousing buzzword so the County could qualify for submission of this $854,000 HUD grant.

We think that this cuts right to heart of our own anger with the all-too casual way in which the County Supervisors and the Eureka City Council accepted the report and took no real action as a result. Sure, there was plenty of hand-shaking and back-slapping and posing for the cameras. But there hasn’t been a damn productive thing to come out of the meeting yet. Reminds us of something…..

mission accomplishedCan you imagine paying $80,000 for a report that told you the way to stop homelessness is to give people housing? No shit! Any single person in Humboldt could have probably told the as much.

According to Pavlich, the public was more than helpful and full of great ideas when DHHS’ Connie Beck made a presentation to a group of roughly 30 people at a recent McKinleyville Advisory Committee meeting. Just imagine – the answers that our governing bodies sought were right here in Humboldt the whole time, and were available for the asking! No $80,000 price tag, either.

THC supposes it’s just par for the course that the County, and all of our so-called leaders in this County, will continue to ignore the sage and freely given advice that is so readily available to them. And they’ll continue wasting our money in the pursuit of doing nothing while they’re at it.

The full post post from the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook group page:

I just wanted to report that last night I attended “Housing First” presentation by Connie Beck, the New Director of the County’s DHHS, and her Assistant last night at the McMac Meeting at McKinleyville Middle School. There were about 30 people present. I made our concerns known as far as the increased problem of homeless here in McKinleyville.
I also asked about the impending closing of the Devils Playground Campground and what strategies were being done so that McKinleyville did not become a dumping ground for these individuals living behind the Bay Shore Mall.

I have a copy of their Homeless Stategy and Implementation Plan–Phase I that was done by Focus Stategies, a Sacramento based consulting group. The key strategy in this feasibility study advocated for a “Rapid Rehousing” approach to homelessness…as opposed to operating shelters of some kind.

The key advice that the County paid $80,000 for the feasibility study was to shoot for the goal of 30/60 “to house 30 homeless individuals/families in 60 days.

While the feasibility study is 50 pages long and offers some practical advice on how to streamline services/ and includes some nice Excel spreadsheets on possible funding and an inventory of rental units…it lacks 4 key components: a) There is no business plan or budget for implementing such a plan…so no one knows how much this might cost or even an estimate for the 30 individuals; b) No landlords were polled to see if they would be will participate in such a concept….Not one presentation or survey was sent to the local Board of Realtors or to any property management companies; c) No program such as John Shelter’s New Directions was included to actually get some of these back to work so that they might actually be able to pay rent (the premise only included the CalWorks program which only helps families with children….and only offers first & last and a cleaning deposit and possibly rent subsidies for 4 months maximum)…so i.e. there is nothing in the works for all these homeless single men or women in our community; and d) With this Rapid Rehousing concept there is not enough DHHS staffing to actual monitor these individuals on what may be a daily basis.

The McMac Committee received a lot of input from the audience. I, myself, used to work for many years at a Family Resource Ctr, doing property management, working for RREDC and the County doing both business consulting and grants management, and then later we have owned an operated 2 RV Parks…the first one which included providing services to a very low income populations and having an on-site Social Services worker for a grant that I wrote. So I did give them some ideas on how that concept might work to immediately pull 200 to 400 people off the streets.

The McMac Committee asked DHHS some very astute questions on the costs and feasibility of this plan. As Pat Barsanti put it “we can get behind this concept, but at this point there is no plan”.

So folks at this point there is no plan….just an $80,000 feasibility study that was based (most likely) on this Rapid Rehousing buzzword so the County could qualify for submission of this $854,000 HUD grant.”

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14 Responses to McKinleyville woman reveals that Humboldt’s homeless strategy lacks a plan

  1. Uri Driscoll says:

    In communicating with the DHHS director Ms Beck, various nurses and doctors, homeless people living on the street, homeless advocates and everyday people in the community we agree that homelessness is complex and we will not find one, permanent solution.
    Mentally unstable people need specific types of care.
    The criminal element needs to be handled by law enforcement.
    Drug addiction recovery services need to be more available. The small Suboxon program at the Open Door Clinic would need to be expanded to help deal with opiate addiction.
    Those that lost a home from medical bills, the loss of a job or other means of support could use a no interest short term loan.
    The homeless community and the human beings in it need to maintain and redevelop their sense of dignity. Many are not going to be able to hold down jobs. Tiny house villages may not be the end all to homelessness, but I am convinced that establishing a small temporary pilot village is absolutely worth doing.
    It all comes down to jobs. We need to make sure that those less fortunate also have a way to contribute to our community.


    • TommyGunn says:

      What did you think about Pavlich’s idea for a mobile home park for with social workers on-site? I agree that the bottom line is we need more jobs. I don’t see where they’re coming from though. Hopefully the harbor commission relaxing the CDI zoning requirement will do some good.


      • William B says:

        The Harbor Commission plan is nothing more than Mike Wilson wanting to grow weed on the bay. The last thing we need is indoor grows and hash labs all over our harbor. Real industry is fine but that’s not what Wilson is pushing. Hopefully our Planning Commission will slam the brakes on Wilson and Weed Inc.


  2. TommyGunn says:

    What I don’t get is how the County can possibly keep saying they’re “working on the problem” when nothing is actually getting done. IS there serisouly no funding at all included in the report by focus strategies?


  3. Mac Towner says:

    Seems like Eureka has a plan to push the homeless out of their backyard and into the rest of the county. Lets build a fence and checkpoint at the Mad River bridge to keep any more homeless, criminals, and tweakers from moving to McKinleyville!


  4. Arcatan says:

    I understand that homelessness is a nationwide problem but it’s totally undeniable that we have way more than our share of the problem and far less than our share of the resources needed to create needed solutions. It may not be politically correct but it seems to me that it would be far more compassionate to relocate these individuals to other areas that are better able to help them then to simply push them around Humboldt from one homeless camp to another. It’s silly to think that we are going to solve a 1,500 person problem by building 30 units a year. This is particularly true since we don’t even have plans to build that many and new regulations and fees appear weekly that make more development less and less likely with every bureaucratic breath. Sure, we should do what we can but we need to acknowledge the fundamental truth that we will never ever solve even a fraction of the problems locally and more stupid grants won’t help do anything but further grow the massive unfunded liabilities of DHHS.


  5. Wanker says:

    “According to Pavlich, the public was more than helpful and full of great ideas when DHHS’ Connie Beck made a presentation to a group of roughly 30 people at a recent McKinleyville Advisory Committee meeting”

    Anybody have a transcript with these great ideas?


  6. Sammy says:

    And more still is the City of Eureka’s planning dufus, er, um Director trying to make old town look like Portland! Parklets my patootie. . . they will turn into pee/sleep/trick turn spots for the homeless at night. Question: whose Insurance is covering all of them? The business that they are in front of? Does it cover all of the predictable foreseeable issues some mentioned above? Does it cover the awful car crashing into folks going 20 + miles an hour? OR is that the City’s Insurance that is going to pay for those damages? Right where folks want and historically HAVE parked their cars. Yep, a Genius in his own mind that Rob Holmlund (ever watch him do a presentation at the podium as opposed to from his table? he constantly grinds his hips-GROSS) with the help of Sparky the Moron who is only here to retire on our dime.

    And the food trucks idea…. DUDES we do have restaurants here that need our support or did you even know that???
    And the Vacation rental idea. . . what about all of the folks that do NOT want to vacation on the city’s west side and would like to be on the east side or Lumbar hills? Do THOSE folks know this is coming to their neighborhoods? What about the hotels folks? Were they even NOTICED or CALLED?????

    Really good investment in jobs guys —– NO, don’t work hard to build homes for families – working with the future residents to build them along with our MANY out of work residents. Don’t ask the others in the same or similar industries to see what ideas they may have or how they feel about it…

    Here’s an idea, Hey ROB HOLMLUND, if you like Portland so much MOVE THERE! And Sparky, he needs to GO and NOW.


    • TommyGunn says:

      Lol you’re paying pretty close attention to Holmlund’s hips when he’s presenting huh? I kinda think his Mike Wilson/Kirk Girard policy impersonations are a little more disgusting but I’ll have to keep a closer eye on his pelvic thrust


  7. Marc Delany says:

    From what I understand the consultant was not told there were 200 people knee deep in the palco marsh as she spoke….. the idea that people can me magically placed into non-existent units is a great goal but unreachable and not what is needed TODAY. Had that been the problem Focused Strategies was asked to solve there would be a different report. The upcoming, much needed summit will need to set this report aside and deal with reality. The joint approach by Eureka and the county is a tremendous 1st step… now Arcata, Fortuna, etc need to get onboard.. the police, and all other LEO too. There is a shelter crisis, the report made that clear… now what can we actually do that will improve the situation for all concerned?


  8. John Fullerton says:

    The problem is the Eureka City Council may be preparing to rely solely on the deeply flawed Focus Strategies report as I pointed out in a My Word column in the Times Standard in late January.

    The report says several times to not “manage” the problem but to “solve” homelessness.
    It is dubious that anything can solve homelessness but one thing is for certain, the Focus Strategies strategy cannot. The report does have some good ideas that should be used but then the city & county need to manage the problem as well.


    • Sammy says:

      Spot on, John. and the City and County don’t talk to each other much. Pipe dreams and rose colored glasses, rainbows lollipops. Report Schmeport. Duh. . .


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