Calif. Campground for Homeless Shuttered

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November 18, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

At Hangtown Haven in Placerville, Calif., Wednesdays were family night, and on movie night 30 to 40 residents watched DVDs on a mammoth outdoor TV.

Residents nursed one another through drug and alcohol detoxification and helped heart and stroke patients recover in their tents, the Los Angeles Times reported. The mayor championed the endeavor, churches embraced it and one police chief said it brought down crime.

But on Friday (Nov. 15), what is believed to be California's only authorized, self-governing campground for homeless people shut down.

Hangtown Haven, the dream of a retired aerospace engineer from Orange County, opened in July 2012 on private land under a permit from the Gold Country town of Placerville, population 10,000. It served dozens of homeless people, with its own community council, a wheelchair-friendly portable toilet and a library.

"This was the most functional family I ever had by far," said Becky Nylander, a member of the camp's community council.

But town residents complained that the project had begun to attract homeless outsiders to town.

"We have a very caring, compassionate community, and word gets out," said Placerville Mayor Wendy Thomas.

For the entire story, click here.

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