Nevada County homeless services in need of spaces to operate | SierraSun.com

Nevada County homeless services in need of spaces to operate

Matthew Pera
mpera@theunion.com

Divine Spark is searching for a location to continue its mission of serving the county’s homeless population, said executive director Shirley Kinghorn. The organization moved out of the Streicher House, its previous daytime shelter in Nevada City, on May 1.

Kinghorn said the nonprofit is currently accepting calls from 211, a resource and information hotline that connects people with programs and services around the county, while it searches for a new space to operate a shelter. Divine Spark takes calls from people searching for food resources or homeless people facing crises.

The organization connects callers with resources like the county food bank, and has purchased vouchers for short-term stays in hotel rooms for individuals who are in emergency situations. Divine Spark also purchased food vouchers, which it hands out to homeless who volunteer to clean up abandoned camps.

“We’re still here, we’re still responding, and we’re working with the city and the county to find a new, appropriate location for a shelter,” Kinghorn said.

Kinghorn said she asks that community members keep eyes and ears out for possible locations.

WARMING SHELTER

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Pauli Halstead, who owns the building where the Streicher House used to operate, said she joined Nevada City Council Member Reinette Senum and met with representatives from the Grass Valley Elks Lodge in March. Halstead asked if the lodge could serve as an emergency warming shelter for homeless during extreme weather events.

Sierra Roots, another nonprofit serving the county’s homeless population, operates a warming shelter in Nevada City at either the Seaman’s Lodge or the Nevada City Veteran’s Hall, but those buildings are often occupieddue to previously-scheduled events, which doesn’t allow the shelter to open even when temperatures drop to extreme lows during those occasions. Halstead hopes another building in the county, like the Elks Lodge, might serve as a more permanent location for the warming shelter.

A representative from the Elks Lodge said the board of directors are still in a consideration period regarding Halstead’s request.