“I’m being treated with dignity and respect”
A new facility in El Dorado County is providing hope for those in need. The El Dorado County Navigation Center, located in Placerville, opened earlier this month as an essential service to those experiencing homelessness in El Dorado County.
One of the first residents of the center is Glenn Erickson, who had been living on the streets for eight and a half months before finding shelter at the navigation center. "Where I was at, it was the place that they called ‘The Hill’ or ‘The Rock’ because there was a big rock in the encampment I was in," Erickson recalls. "I was there between early summer until about February this year."
Erickson's experience of braving a harsh winter on the streets, fighting through storms, and making do with canned food, speaks to the incredible resilience and strength of those experiencing homelessness every day. "Storms in the winter? Oh, they finally came. I'd heard all about them from people who had been there a whole lot longer than I have, but when you witness them and go through them - it was getting scary," Erickson says. "I mean the winds were blowing 65 miles an hour. Big oak tree branches were snapping on the ground. And it would rain a heavy rain, which was cold and scary."
However, Erickson's life took a turn when he heard about the new navigation center. "A lady at the Upper Room said there's a place that's going to be opening up, and it wasn't quite open while I was still on the hill," Erickson explains. "There was a signup list if you chose to get on it, and they said you're more than welcome. I filled it out, waited for a little bit of time to go by, and bingo I ended up here."
Erickson expressed his gratitude for the facility and the staff who run the navigation center. "It's pretty comfortable. They treat you with respect and dignity. I mean new clothes. Cleaned all your clothes," he says. "All the staff are excellent. Like I said anything you want you may have if it's available. Anything from the kitchen: apple juice, soda, coffee. Excellent, I mean the staff, they're aces."
The El Dorado Navigation Center offers hope for those struggling with homelessness. It provides a safe and comfortable space, essential resources, and support to help individuals get back on their feet. As more people like Erickson find shelter and support, there is hope for a brighter future.