Community Foundation looking to help groups provide basic services
It’s no secret that Truckee’s population is growing, but also expanding is the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” To combat the problem, the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation is starting a new Basic Needs Fund that will channel 40 percent of the foundation’s money to services providing basic needs. With the new allocation of funds, local nonprofit organizations that provide services such as food, shelter or women’s services to low-income residents will be eligible to apply for greater financial support to bolster their core services. “We are looking for organizations that support people during time of crisis by being a part of the basic safety net,” said foundation President Lisa Dobey. For these service providers to re-apply for grant monies it can be an exhausting process, said foundation Program Officer Phebe Bell, because they are required to show growth or new projects. “We just want [service providers] to keep doing what they’re doing,” Bell said. Gathering accurate information on basic need trends in Truckee is difficult, if not impossible, because the majority of data is collected at the county level and does not account for localized patterns. Furthermore, other than the U.S. Census, which was last taken in 2000, few surveys have been done to collect more recent information. Some of the minimal local data available comes from a 2003 “evaluation and community needs assessment” conducted by Project MANA, a hunger relief organization serving the North and West shores of Lake Tahoe and Truckee. The written survey of Project MANA clients, clients of partner social service agencies, and low-income neighborhoods, found that 35 percent of 193 respondents were living on less than $850 a month. Twenty-five percent were living between $850 and $1,249. “It is phenomenal how disenfranchised people are, and how they are absolutely living on the edge,” Bell said.The majority of survey respondents reported to be paying less than $1,000 in rent, which likely means that they live in affordable housing complexes, trailer parks, or small apartments, because, according to the assessment, most houses in Truckee rent for more than $1,000 a month.Only 20 percent reported having a year-long, full-time job, while 31 percent said that they were not working at all. “In a community with as much wealth as we have, there is no reason for any person to go to bed hungry, unsafe or without a place to sleep,” said Bell.Contact the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation at 587-1776.