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Palm Springs seeks community help in tackling homelessness

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Deon Hammond is homeless in Palm Springs. It's the only life she's known for the past six years and she's not alone.

"We're here, we're everywhere," she said.

Making her voice heard at Monday's community forum that addressed the current homeless issues in the city, many neighbors did the same. They asked questions and voiced their concerns about the people they see panhandling everyday, living out of shopping carts or sleeping on the streets.

"They complain about trash, where they live and issues of trespassing," said Palm Springs Police Sgt. Mike Kovaleff.

Doug Hairgrove and Warren Wood showed up to learn how they can help.

"I think it's an issue. I think what we need to do is find out what we can do about it," said Hairgrove.

The expert panel, including the Palm Springs Police Department and local homeless aid organizations Well in the Desert and Roy's Desert Resource Center, is preparing for the homeless population to increase this Winter.

"Homeless folks from all over come to our area. We in return receive more complaints," said Kovaleff.

The organizations hope to create better resources for the homeless with the help of the community, like a 24-hour facility for them to go to and learn new skills and build on old ones.

"The combined knowledge in that room ought to be able to come up with something better than what we've got going," said Hammond.

Hammond says the community is the most important resource of all.

"We don't expect $1 million and a box of spending money. We just want to touch base, human touch, hearts and energy," she said.

The expert panel hopes Monday night's forum will help find better solutions to get the homeless off the streets of Palm Springs and back into a stable home.

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