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City asked to address homeless situation

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

Reading from a handwritten manuscript scrawled on a notepad just an hour before, a homeless woman urged the Crescent City Council on Tuesday to take the initiative and combat homelessness in the city.

Barely audible because she was standing three feet from the podium so not to spread her flu germs onto the microphone, Mary Rowe, asked the City Council to appoint a homelessness task force and help the homeless community in the city.

"I think it's time for Crescent City to get on board," Rowe, who has a master's degree in social services, said.

She has been traveling the coast between Arcata and Brookings as a homeless person for four months and said that Crescent City is by far the worst at providing services to the homeless.

Some of the things she said she would like to see, in addition to the task force, include an emergency shelter in case of harsh weather, one-night stays in motels for homeless women and families escaping abuse and blankets provided by city police.

Police Chief Doug Plack, in reaction to Rowe, said homelessness in Crescent City is a big problem, and needs to be addressed.

"I think the homeless contingency should not be ignored," Plack said. "And I think a lot of the things she said were a reality."

But Plack also said the question is where to find the financial resources in a financially-limited community.

"A lot of ideas need to be explored," Plack said.

In addition to hearing Rowe's statement on homelessness in Crescent City, the council approved an application to try and obtain over $200,000 from the State Community Development Block Grant Program.

Money, if received, would be devoted to the North Coast Small Business Development Center to expand technical and business support for small businesses in the area.

The council also approved a Feb. 5 public hearing regarding a proposal that would allow tall, mixed-use buildings on the harbor. The lot in question that would allow a structure between 45 and 70 feet tall on the site of the former seafood processing and ice plant near Ocean World on U.S. Highway 101 South.

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