Thursday, May 28, 2020

Betty Chinn's Homeless Foundation Receives Grant to Care for Pets

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 1:02 PM

Betty Chinn - FILE
  • File
  • Betty Chinn
The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation announced today that it has received a $200,000 grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Pet Assistance and Support Program to help house, feed and provide basic veterinary service to the pets of its clients.

Chinn, who spent much of her childhood living alone in a garbage dump during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution after her mother was jailed and her siblings sent off to labor camps due to her parents' wealth and Christian beliefs, has operated one of the few West Coast shelters to allow animals.

“Betty has long recognized the importance that some homeless individuals attach to their companion animals,” the release states. “Dogs provide emotional support, companionship, warmth and security to people living in the street. However, they also present a significant barrier to services because many shelters do not allow dogs, and this prevents some of the chronically homeless from accessing case management services geared toward regaining their self-sufficiency.”

Read the full release from the foundation below:

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Update: Eureka City Council Approved Allowing Betty Chinn to Open Temporary Homeless Shelter for Women and Families

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 1:09 PM

The Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center for the homeless. - FILE
  • File
  • The Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center for the homeless.

Update: The Eureka City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to add a retail building across the street from the Betty Kwan Chinn day center to its 2016 Shelter Crisis Declaration, paving the way for its conversion into a temporary shelter for women and families.


Before the shelter opens, the Betty Chinn Foundation must add another restroom and shower to the building. The foundation also has to change the entrance of the building to its C Street side, directly across the street from the foundation’s existing day center so as not to disturb other businesses on Seventh Street. 


Chinn says she has to talk to her partners about funding before starting the renovations, adding that as of right now she doesn’t have enough money to proceed with the renovations.  


Chinn and the city of Eureka are hoping the shelter opens next month, so families who impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can have a safe place to stay.  


Those in need of shelter can contact the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center at 407-3833.  


To make a donation to the Betty Kwan Chinn Foundation, visit the website here to donate online or mail a check to Betty Chinn’s Homeless Fund, P.O. Box 736, Eureka, CA 95502.  

Previous: The Eureka City Council will consider adopting a resolution tomorrow that would expand the Shelter Crisis Declaration it enacted in 2016 to allow Betty Chinn to establish a temporary women and families shelter across the street from her day center at 205 Seventh St.

The retail building would be converted into a shelter to allow for “20 people in one bedroom assignments,” according to the staff report, and will be operated by the Betty Kwan Chinn Foundation.

Betty Chinn told the Journal that there are quite a few people who have come to her center looking for shelter as they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have nowhere else to go. The new building, she said, would allow them to help people needing a place to stay.

“During this time, people need a safe place to stay, a safe place to be quarantined,” Chinn says. “I want to protect people as best as I can.”

Chinn says that her shelters take serious precautions when it comes to taking in new clients. She says that new residents for her shelters are quarantined for 14 days before they are able to roam the grounds freely, and that she also takes resident’s and staff’s temperature twice daily. If the new shelter is approved, she says she will be taking the same precautions there.

Clients would be able to stay in the shelter as long as they need to get back on their feet, she adds.

“The goal is for them to find permanent housing,” Chinn says. “So they will be able to stay for as long as they need to, to save money and learn to budget themselves for permanent housing.”

If approved by the council, the building will be converted “as soon as possible,” Chinn says adding that she hopes to open the shelter by May 1.

“[The building] is across the street from the day center so it will be easy,” she says. “If it doesn’t, I have to find a new building and new partners. I just hope this goes through.”

The Eureka City Council is also looking to adopt a COVID-19 Assistance Fund Grant Program that will allocate $50,000 in grants to Homeless Service Providers and $200,000 to support mortgage and rent assistance to households who are at 80 percent of area median income (those below 50 percent will be prioritized, the staff report states).

The Eureka City Council meeting will be held April 21, 2020, at 6 p.m. For more agenda items or to watch the virtual meeting remotely, visit the city website here.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

Eureka Mayor Talks Efforts to Protect Homeless Residents (VIDEO)

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 8:14 PM

Susan Seaman - CITY OF EUREKA
  • city of eureka
  • Susan Seaman
Eureka Mayor Susan Seaman has released a public service announcement updating the community on the city's efforts to care for its homeless residents amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Humboldt County. In it, she announces a number of new services and protocols, and says the Eureka Police Department recently gave 500 N95 masks, which are in tremendously short supply and high demand nationwide, to the Department of Health and Human Services for social workers aiding the local homeless population.

"By doing this, we are supporting our partners by protecting the health of their professionals working on the front lines with our homeless community and CSET team," Seaman said.

Watch the video or read a full transcript of Seaman's remarks copied below.

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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Arcata House to Provide Hot Meals, Needs Some Help to Do So

Posted By on Sun, Dec 22, 2019 at 3:56 PM

The Arcata House Partnership will be hosting meal events during Christmas week to help folks in need of a hot meal during the holiday season.

Meals will be available from noon to 3 p.m. at the nonprofit’s Ninth Street annex Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

In addition to lending a helping hand, the partnership is asking those with means to aid the effort by volunteering to cook or clean up, or by donating to the cause (cider and cinnamon sticks are a special request) or by giving clothes, blankets and socks.

To contact AHP about volunteering and/or donating, call 298-7610 or email volunteer@arcatahouse.org.

Read the release from the Arcata House Partnership:
We will be serving out of the back of our 9th Street annex, from 12 to 3 p.m. on Monday (12/23), Tuesday(12/24), Thursday (12/26) and Friday (12/27).

Volunteers for cooking and cleanup would be greatly appreciated. Donations of cider and sweets (esp. cinnamon sticks) are also welcome.

In addition, clients are in need of blankets and socks for the holiday season so AHP will gladly receive clothing contributions as well.

To contact AHP about volunteering and/or donating, call (707) 298-7610 or email volunteer@arcatahouse.org.

The Christmas week menu will include:

Monday, 12/23: Chili w/cornbread and chips
Tuesday, 12/24: Shepherd's Pie w/cranberries
Thursday, 12/26: Black beans and coconut rice
Friday, 12/27: Pasta w/meat sauce

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Grand Jury: No 'Silver Bullet' to Solving Homeless, Offers Strategies

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2019 at 4:48 PM

With an overwhelming rate of homelessness in Humboldt County, the civil grand jury released a report recommending four key strategies. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • With an overwhelming rate of homelessness in Humboldt County, the civil grand jury released a report recommending four key strategies.

The Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury, a board of citizens impaneled for a year to look into governmental issues, released a report today making recommendations on how to address the region’s overwhelmingly high homeless rate.

The 38-page report looks back at the recommendations from the consulting group Focus Strategies that led the city of Eureka and the county of Humboldt to adopt resolutions supporting a Housing First approach to addressing homelessness in 2016.

The report states that it will take years for the affordable housing stock to catch up with the current demand and, in the interim, “our current and future unsheltered homeless will need somewhere legal to stay, both day and night.”

“While creating more usable shelter is necessary, speeding up the rate at which affordable housing is generated will go a long way to address our homeless crisis,” the summary states. “Local jurisdictions working on their Housing Elements are including creative and forward-thinking solutions to encourage production of affordable housing. Local government should incentivize implementing these solutions.”

While noting in a press release that there is no “silver bullet that will eradicate homelessness in Humboldt County,” the grand jury puts forward 10 recommendations that “if implemented, could significantly improve the quality of life for many of the County’s residents—both homeless and housed—while the affordable housing crisis persists.”

These recommendations include that the county board of supervisors revise the housing element to provide for shelter solutions and affordable housing, work to reduce barriers at existing shelters (like accommodating partners and significant others, providing space to store personal property) and find an ongoing funding source for the Housing Trust Fund. Additionally, the grand jury recommends expanding the role of the county’s Homeless Solutions Committee to include both looking at shelter projects and affordable housing, that the city and county work together to find suitable locations for both a homeless day center and a supervised safe parking program, that the county and city resume monthly meetings on shared issues related to homelessness and that they both work to develop plans to provide financial incentives for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units to house very-low income residents on their properties.

Read the full report here.

Editor's note: This story was updated from a previous version to clarify that a quote included came from a Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury press release, not the full report, and to include more information about the grand jury's recommendations.
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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Town Hall Focuses on Need for Transitional Housing

Posted By on Sun, May 19, 2019 at 2:33 PM

Reverend Daniel London opens the Town Hall event at the Christ Episcopal Church with an acknowledgment of Jesus Christ and his alignment with homeless struggles. - FREDDY BREWSTER
  • Freddy Brewster
  • Reverend Daniel London opens the Town Hall event at the Christ Episcopal Church with an acknowledgment of Jesus Christ and his alignment with homeless struggles.
Gathered in the Christ Episcopal Church on a windy and wet Saturday afternoon, nearly 40 people talked about homelessness and the need for transitional housing in Humboldt County.

Under the stained-glass windows and vaulted ceiling of the nearly 150-year-old church, Reverend Daniel London and his wife Ashley London Bacchi helped facilitate conversations with a panel that included Betty Chinn, Eureka Police Department Sgt. Leonard La France, Eureka City Councilmember Kim Bergel and others who are on the front lines of addressing the area's homeless people and their impacts. The event was put on by True North Organizing Network, a faith-based nonprofit that focuses on community issues and providing every person with “the opportunity to be heard and respected.”

“We are really excited to hear stories in our community about this issue and to bring a face to housing needs,” said Eve Robinson, a facilitator and leader with True North. “If we could change even one mind about housing in our area, then that was our goal.”

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Town Hall Aims to Bridge 'Empathy Gap' on Transitional Housing

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2019 at 3:40 PM

Eureka has more homeless people than shelter beds. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Eureka has more homeless people than shelter beds.

True North Organizing Network will host a town hall meeting tomorrow afternoon on the need for transitional housing locally.

The meeting — scheduled from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church at 625 15th St. in Eureka — is intended to bridge the “empathy gap” organizers feel exists in conversations about finding shelter for those currently living without. To that end, the meeting will feature “testimonials” from people who have benefitted from transitional housing.

There’s an acute need for additional shelter and transitional housing in Humboldt County, where nearly 1,500 people were living homeless and without shelter earlier this year, according to the biennial point in time count directed by the Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition. That puts Humboldt County’s per-capita rate of homelessness at nearly three times the state average.

In addition to there being a shortage of shelter beds locally, there are also few options for transitional housing — or housing arrangements that get people off the streets and out of shelters, allowing them to build rental histories before transitioning into more traditional housing arrangements. A number of proposed transitional housing projects — including one from local philanthropist Betty Chinn, who wanted to use 11 donated construction trailers to house a few dozen people — have stalled in the face of neighborhood concerns.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

PIT Count Finds Almost 1,500 People Without Shelter in Humboldt

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 3:11 PM

A homeless man in Eureka. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • A homeless man in Eureka.
Almost 1,500 people spent the night of Jan. 22 without shelter in Humboldt County, according to results of the Point in Time count released by the county Department of Health and Human Services.

The biennial count held Jan. 23 found that 1,473 people had experienced unsheltered homelessness the night before, more than double the number counted in 2017. That puts Humboldt County's rate of homeless people per 10,000 in population at about three times the state average of 34, according to U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development data.

The PIT count is part of a national effort to tally sheltered and unsheltered homeless people, as requirement by HUD. The numbers are then used to designate funding to help address homelessness and housing insecurity. On a single day in January, volunteers all over the U.S. head out to count and survey homeless people.

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Arcata Council Advances Revised Village Housing Project

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2019 at 7:08 AM

AMCAL's David Moon addresses the Arcata City Council. - IRIDIAN CASAREZ
  • Iridian Casarez
  • AMCAL's David Moon addresses the Arcata City Council.
Arcata's The Village housing project is not dead, the City Council decided last night with a unanimous vote to reconsider the newly revised development proposal.

The project will go through three more review hearings before moving forward: one with the Arcata Planning Commission and two more with the council, including one focused on vacating St. Louis Road, said Arcata Community Development Director David Loya.

Developers presented their proposed 600-bed development to the council back in August but the council split, stalling the project.

Five months after the project appeared dead, the developer — AMCAL — reviewed and revised its plans to include an open market and to open half the apartments up to non-student community members. The revisions were publicly unveiled at an informal meeting Jan. 31 but locals still expressed concerns about impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods, including parking, traffic and an influx of hundred of students. The housing project would sit on the 10-acre Craftsman Mall site on St. Louis Road, across U.S. Highway 101 from L.K. Wood Boulevard just north of campus.

AMCAL's David Moon told the council last night that the proposed 651-bed facility will dedicate half of its units to non-student residents and will include amenities like a gym and a childrens play area. It will also feature solar panels, a walking trail and car and bike sharing programs, he said. Moon was pleased to see the council move the revived project forward.

“I am very satisfied with tonight’s meeting,” Moon said. “I look forward to coming back.”
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Thursday, January 24, 2019

UPDATED: Encampment Removal Operation Near the Bayshore Mall

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 10:10 AM

EPD officers and other agencies at the scene. - PHOTO BY RYAN HUTSON
  • Photo by Ryan Hutson
  • EPD officers and other agencies at the scene.
Several agencies are “executing inspection/abatement and criminal search warrants” property near the Bayshore Mall, according to the Eureka Police Department.

The operation began at 8 a.m. and prompted the closure of the mall entrance at Bayshore Way, the EPD release states.

Blankets, clothes and shoes were hurriedly packed into gallon-sized garbage bags, as residents of the encampment began to leave this morning. Loaded trucks were driving in and out of Bayshore Way and residents helped each other throw away trash into an industrial garbage bin. An estimated 30 people living in the encampment were vacated from the private property.
The area behind the mall, known as the Devil’s Playground, was the site of a massive encampment that was cleared in May of 2016 in a major undertaking that saw more than 100 people removed from camp sites and more than 60 tons of trash collected. Read more here, here and here.
A scene from the May of 2016 eviction operation at the Devil's Playground. - FILE
  • File
  • A scene from the May of 2016 eviction operation at the Devil's Playground.

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