YUCCA VALLEY — Around two dozen people on average stay in and around Don Frohriep’s home. There are bunk beds in the garage. Bunk beds on the enclosed porch. Tents in the yard. The living room converts to a bedroom overnight.
For those used to sharing bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens with just a few people, the conditions at the Frohriep residence are pretty poor. For people with no access to a bathroom, bedroom or kitchen, the home is practically a room at the Ritz.
In the absence of any government-sponsored homeless shelters in the Morongo Basin, Frohriep has taken it upon himself to take in those with no other place to live.
How the home is able to sustain itself is part miracle, part mystery. It is, of necessity, a communal arrangement. Those with employment are able to help others looking for work. Those eligible for assistance like food stamps contribute to the pantry.
“They do what they can to build themselves up,” Frohriep said.
Alcohol and illegal drugs are not allowed in the home. If a resident is found to be drunk or high, Frohriep explained how he will deliver one compassionate but firm warning. A second occurrence means the person must find shelter elsewhere.
“I’m 18 years sober,” Frohriep said, pointing out that residents may be on probation, which requires a person to stay away from people and situations involving alcohol and drug use.
Frohriep is aware his home is not in compliance with health and safety codes but replies that not helping people in need is a worse offense.
“Every one of us is breaking the law,” Frohriep said. “How can we turn our backs on these people? That’s breaking the law.
“This is our program,” Frohriep said. “We support ourselves. We’ve got to bring ourselves up. That’s the bottom line.”
Frohriep wants to build a facility for homeless north of the Yucca Valley airport and is working to acquire the land and funding to realize his goal.
“Somebody has to care,” Frohriep said with simplicity and sincerity.
Don Frohriep’s home is in the Paradise Valley neighborhood. Frohriep welcomes inquiries and visits; call (760) 365-4343.