By L.J. Haven
For those who don’t know, the Extreme Weather Shelter is a shelter set up usually by a community resource center to get the homeless out of extreme weather. Extreme Weather includes things like torrential rain, cold snaps where someone could actually freeze to death, and so on.
You usually sign up at your nearest resource center or annex, and then you are bussed to whereever they have it set up for the night. This is the case for the McKinleyville Extreme Weather Shelter. Once there you receive a hot shower from the portable showers, a hot meal, warm clean bedding and a cot for the night. The doors close for the night at a certain time and there is no in and out.
The McKinleyville Extreme Winter Shelter was designed and test ran for 2 days during the winter of 2012 – 2013 to fine tune it for this winter. It is staffed by the workers of the Family Resource Center and volunteers and is backed by businesses and nonprofit organizations. These people work hard to keep the homeless who need these services out of the torrential weather.
Now on Monday Dec. 23 2013 I was at the McKinleyville Family Resource Center when I learned that the portable shower units were vandalized over the weekend of Dec. 21 – 22. The resource workers declined to go into specific detail and for (respectful reasons to their collaborators) declined an interview to report this incident in the Humboldt Edge. I was however able to schedule an interview with the Humboldt County Sheriff Department’s Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Steve Knight.
I sit here with Lieutenant Steve Knight as I ask “what can you tell me about the McKinleyville Extreme Weather Shelter case?”
He replies “It was reported to us on Dec 23 2013 at 9:42 am, we received a call at the McKinleyville station that an unknown suspect had stolen a hot water heater off the portable shower for the McKinleyville Extreme Weather Shelter.”
“When the deputy arrived the reporting party told the deputy that there was a shower loaned to them by B&B portable toilet.”
“The lady reporting this to the officer said that they use the shower for the homeless during extreme weather. They placed it outside by the south wall of the church. “
“When she arrived to the center on Dec 23 at 9:30 am she discovered that the hot water unit was cut from the plastic structure of the portable shower. “
“The actual victim of the crime was B&B toilets, and they were told by the resource center employee of the vandalism and theft.”
“The deputy did take a look at the unit and told her we don’t have much evidence in this case. And the deputy is waiting for a call from B&B toilets to get the exact dollar amount of damage. This is being classified as a petty theft and felony vandalism.”
Lieutenant Knight goes on to say “Unfortunately Humboldt County tends to have a lot of crime in general per capita and a lot of crimes are crimes of opportunity. It is unknown who might have done this but vandalism is prevalent in Humboldt County. As well as burglary and other types of theft”.
There are no leads and so the case is suspended. If anyone has any information on the case to call the Humboldt County Sheriffs Department at 707-445-7251.
Lieutenant Knight says “From a humanitarian side I think it is unfair to the people who already have nothing and are trying to better themselves. We actually have two victims here. The people who utilize the services of the facility and B&B toilets who donated the portable shower to use during extreme weather.”