Mad River Union
MCKINLEYVILLE – McKinleyville residents and community leaders are pleading for some sort of camp or shelter where local houseless people can seek refuge during the coronavirus pandemic.
The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee discussed the issue May 27 and committed itself to organizing a town hall meeting.
A week later, on June 3, the issue dominated the public comment portion of the monthly meeting of the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors.
“I ask, how do you, respectfully, shelter in place when you have no home?” said resident Barbara Georgianna. “My heart hurts for my homeless neighbors.”
Terry Supahan of True North Organizing Network also asked that something be done.
“We have a very high concern for our people who are unhoused,” Supahan said.
Some mentioned the efforts of the City of Arcata and Arcata House. Arcata has designated two parking lots as homeless camps. There are tents, porta-potties and washing stations. Arcata House is providing three meals a day.
“McKinleyville has an opportunity to provide the same type of services here,” said Tony Giraud of the Church of the Joyful Healer.
Rick Ellis, who was born and raised in McKinleyville, told the story of how he became houseless. His wife died of heart failure, he lost his job, and then he was houseless for three years. Now he has housing and wants to help others who are going through what he went through.
“We need a safe place for unhoused people,” Ellis said.
The issue wasn’t on the MCSD’s agenda, so there was no action to be taken.
One action that has been taken since the coronavirus came to Humboldt is the installation of porta-potties and wash stations at Hiller and Pierson parks in McKinleyville.
McKinleyville resident s Johnny Calkins organized the effort, with the MCSD giving him permission to use its parks. Funding was provided by the county.