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Placerville to Use Micro-Shelters for Homeless


The Hangtown Haven homeless camp is toying with the idea of building small houses from sheds.

The 8-foot by 12-foot sheds resemble tool sheds in someone’s backyard. But Mark Murray of Murray Sheds has modified them to fit two bunk beds, a small desk, a dresser drawer and a tiny closet.

Hangtown Haven founder Art Edwards says his homeless residents helped build a prototype model and he said he hopes to raise enough money to build a dozen or so in assembly line fashion.  They won’t be for everyone.

“People can live in here only if they are either going to college or have a job,” said Edwards as he gave a mini-tour of the unit which he calls a mini-house, or a micro-shelter.

The plan is to charge a rent of between $100 to $300 a month to those homeless residents who have jobs. Once they save enough money, they can transition to an apartment.

The mini-houses have no plumbing, but they are more roomy and comfortable than the shelter’s tents.

“You have regular beds and places to put your clothes and stuff instead of in bins or in a backpack,” said Kenneth Green, who lives at Hangtown Haven.

The  facility’s use permit is expiring and it is in the process of finding another site which currently has 32 homeless people living in tents.  That would be a good time to erect more of the sheds if enough money can be raised.

The goal is to make the successful shelter financially successful.

“We would need no grants, no gifts, no money from the county, no money from the city,” said Edwards.

Edwards says the ideal situation would be to have the homeless with jobs support those who do not.