IN AN EMAIL TO THE DNA, CAPT. GELLATLY SHARES VALUABLE INFORMATION FROM CSAH
I hope this email finds you well and happy! Please read through the below email correspondence from Cindy Kelly of the Homeless Authority. In short, she is requesting that folks not distribute any items to the homeless camps; she is requesting all donations go through her office. Please distribute to your neighborhoods, as I know all of your neighborhood folks are kindhearted and want to help others, especially during the holidays.
Capt. Joy Gellatly
From: Cindy Kelley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2016 10:47 AM
Subject: Cindy at CSAH Requests your Help Related to Holiday Requests to Help the Homeless
Good morning everyone,
This is an appeal to forward requests to distribute items to the homeless through CSAH and discourage any distribution to the homeless camps. I know that everyone wants to help over the holidays but it is preferable to encourage folks to help in other times of the year instead. If your agency is working directly with a specific group/congregation and managing distribution to those served in your program there is no concern.
When calls come to CSAH we work to find out what they are interested in doing and usually refer to them to your agencies. Sometimes we simply let them know that the distribution does not make sense (this is often the case for those who want to prepare a few meals and drop them off at one of the camps).
Large groups, often with accompanying children are showing up to the camps and handing out various items. Without coordination they do not receive an adequate orientation for their group and health/safety issues are not addressed. Over the past year City officials and our staff have been working together to better manage item distribution, camp clean-ups and the necessary moving of camps. Due to the moves the remaining camps are larger and we are seeing a bit more tension among some homeless campers due to crowding/vying for space. Usually when groups arrive without coordination, homeless residents accept whatever is offered. Unfortunately, too often what is given is thrown in piles due to lack of need/interest thereby increasing garbage piles in the camps. This is a public health issue for camp residents and others who work with us on clean-ups.
On Sunday I found a large group (more than 75 with kids) wandering through our undeveloped property (future site of Tiny House project) and the property behind it. There are two large camps on the two properties. The group walked back and forth over active railroad tracks and distributed items including blankets. Blankets were distributed to these folks on Friday by our staff. Most concerning is that this group brought a large number of pallets and they were breaking them up and giving them to camp residents for firewood….eek! It is dry out there and many of the areas where homeless camps are active have fallen trees from the storm and other piled debris…a real fire hazard.
Your help is much appreciated. Thank you.
Cindy Murphy Kelley
Executive Director, CSAH