Hangtown Haven Closes, Residents Facing Uncertain Future

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Residents of Placerville’s Hangtown Haven homeless camp had to pack up their belongings Thursday evening.

“I can’t tell you what this place has meant for so many people. Us being shut down is beyond belief,” said Rebecca Nylander.

Nylander couldn’t fight back the tears; her home in Hangtown Haven has been dismantled.

“I’m beyond devastated,” Nylander said.

At the camp’s peak, 40 people called the outdoor refuge for the homeless home.

Earlier this week, Placerville City Council didn’t renew their permit – meaning 75-year-old Lollie Desmond now has to find somewhere else to live. She just moved into her temporary home a month ago.

“My car was stolen, everything I had was stolen in Tahoe,” Desmond said.

Desmond hopes to find a place to call home the next few days.

For 16 and a half months, the shelter was open. Organizers said that they were very meticulous about who they allowed to live here, even though Placerville residents claimed the shelter caused problems in the community.

“We aren’t apart of that,” Nylander said.

Instead, Hangtown Haven organizers said the camp offered unique, one-of-a-kind services that allowed transients the ability to get back on their feet.

“A few people went to Arizona for job opportunities,” said volunteer Frank Matous.

Those success stories are now memories as everyone leaves to seek whatever shelter they can.

“It would be different if we did something wrong. That would make sense, but this just doesn’t make sense,” Nylander said.

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