Cold weather shelter in Nevada City – Help needed now

February 26, 2018 at 5:20 PM There will be no shelter in Nevada City tonight. The City and Sierra Roots will operate Seaman’s Lodge in Pioneer Park on Wednesday through Saturday morning and re-evaluate if the shelter needs to be extended. Hopefully by then communication between the city, the county and the non-profit will have improved.

Should you want to express your opinion to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, their regular meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday Feb. 27. The meeting starts at 9:00 am at the Rood Center and Public Comment for items not on the agenda will be heard at that time.

February 26, 2018 at 3:29 PM

Nevada City is ready to open the Veterans Hall as an overnight shelter. However, communications from Sierra Roots with the city indicate they is no volunteer capacity to operate the shelter. Nevada County has offered to transport all supplies from Sierra Roots’ storage facility to the Vets building and staff the shelter if needs be. Multiple attempts to contact the person responsible for the storage location have been unsuccessful so far.

A warming shelter will be open Wednesday through Friday at Seaman’s Lodge operated by Sierra Roots, as part of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nevada City.

NEVADA CITY, Calif. February 26, 2018 – Snow has been falling in Nevada City, making for a nice postcard but the homeless population is in dire need of a warming shelter and a place to spend the night out of the elements. At publication time, no shelter is open in Nevada City, despite agreements between the City and Sierra Roots – a local non-profit serving the chronically homeless people of Nevada County.

“Sierra Roots has arranged to open an inclement weather shelter at Pioneer Park in Nevada City,” their website reads. Other shelters, like Hospitality House, are at capacity and can’t accommodate more people. Makeshift shelters in churches do not address the issue.

Nevada City, who runs and rents out Seaman’s Lodge, has an agreement to open the building if Sierra Roots provides the necessary supplies. This morning, no decision was made to open the shelter. The Nevada City Manager is home sick, therefore unavailable. Getting a hold of anyone else at city hall is difficult, due to the very small staff – and the weather. However, the city is now working on opening the Nevada City Vets Hall, see the update below.

Nevada County offices are closed today due to snow, but county staff is working to find a solution. A proposal to rent a U-Haul and have the supplies currently stored at a Sierra Roots location brought to Seaman’s Lodge was apparently declined by Sierra Roots’ co-founder and Board Member Janice O’Brien – citing an inability to have sufficient volunteers. County staff offered to help shuttle supplies.

Seaman’s Lodge is booked tomorrow night by a Boy Scout troop in the early evening. Surely the troop would cancel their meeting to provide shelter for homeless people.

At publication time, calls to Sierra Roots and Nevada City have not been returned. We are taking the unusual step to nevertheless publish this story because in our opinion time is of the essence.

Sierra Roots, please make the supplies available and volunteers will show up to load vehicles and transfer everything to a shelter, be that Seaman’s Lodge or the Nevada City Vets Hall.

Nevada City, open a shelter tonight and ask the Boy Scouts to cancel their meeting tomorrow if Seaman’s Lodge is the shelter location. Better yet, enlist their help.

Nevada County, be the adult in the room and coordinate between these two.

You wouldn’t let your pets stay outside in this weather, how can you stand by and have people be without shelter?

Latest update February 26, 2018 at 1:26 PM: Nevada City is making the Vets Hall available for tonight if Sierra Roots is able to staff the facility. They are trying to connect with Sierra Roots, so far unsuccessfully. The city is also working on freeing up Seaman’s Lodge for tomorrow. County staff is still available to help transfer supplies where they are needed.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This could have been avoided if City and government officials were paying attention. I brought up this topic a year ago when there was unavailability of the designated buildings due to the fact they are rented a lot of the time. Michael Heggarty, Director of Health and Human Services was notified all last year that the MOU between Social Services and the cities needed to be renewed. He ignored this information. Instead Sierra Roots and Nevada City Mayor waited until November 6th to sign an MOU which stated Seaman’s Lodge or the Vets Building could be used for the warming shelter “if” they were available. If you go on the Parks and Recreation website the calendars reflect they are booked most of the time. In addition the temperature criteria for opening is inhumane. Opening happens at 30 degrees if it is dry, or 34 degrees if raining or snowing, or three or more days of consecutive rain. Also, Sierra Roots will only open “if” they have enough trained volunteers. With all these criteria hoops to jump through each time, it is hard to meet all the criteria for opening. What I have noticed is that no one is paying attention to the weather ahead of time. Everyone waits until the snow starts falling and then goes into a panic. Also, no one seems to have the cell phone numbers of officials who can make decisions. All of this is totally unacceptable and needs to change. A new and very improved MOU needs to be agreed to. We need a “dedicated” building for the warming shelter that takes precedence over a party. Lives are at stake!

Comments are closed.