10 Days Left: Clock is ticking for residents of Placerville's tent city
PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KCRA) —Three dozen people are wondering where they will go if the Placerville City Council doesn't approve a permit allowing their tent city to continue.
Rebecca Nylander moved into a tent after her mother died and she found herself on the streets. She has become part of the leadership council governing who gets to join the ranks of the three dozen people sharing the space on the outskirts of the city.
"It's not a joke. It's really stressful," said Nylander. "Especially for those of us who know how vulnerable our people are and don't know how we are going to keep our people safe."
Nylander fears she will not only lose this temporary roof over her head but the small community that has supported her.
The tent city was set up as a sort of experiment in July 2012. Placerville has allowed it to operate under a temporary permit which expires Nov. 15.
The camp's director of operations believes they are a victim of their own success and that critics claim the camp has attracted more homeless to the city.
"It's sort of backwards logic to me, because we're doing a good job," said Don Rake, director of operations. "We're an attractive nuisance."
About three dozen people live in the camp at a time.
To dispel fears that the camp is attracting homeless from outside the city, the camp only allows Placerville residents into their facility.
The camp council also forbids sex offenders and drugs on the premises.
Nylander said their support system has helped some former drug users stay clean for six months or longer. She fears that will be the first problem if the camp is disbanded.
"What's going to happen is they are going to start failing one by one because they don't have that support," Nylander said.
The director of the camp plans to meet with city leaders next week to see if they can work out a compromise that may extend their temporary permit.