With temperatures dipping below freezing last weekend, the Emergency Cold Weather shelter opened for three nights. Sierra Roots volunteers and City of Nevada City staff swung into action to clear the way for facilities to open on Saturday, December 1st. Catrina Olsen, City Manager, was able to free up Seaman's Lodge for the first night and the Veterans Hall in Nevada City hosted the shelter for the following two nights.
Supported by funding from the County of Nevada, Sierra Roots has ramped up efforts to ensure safety for overnight guests and the surrounding community. New guidelines for operation in the City's Memorandum of Understanding that sets standards for the shelters operation. County, City and Sierra Roots organizers worked closely with the representatives at the Veterans Hall and local law enforcement to address neighborhood concerns and to strengthen policies and procedures for shelter operations.
Over the three days of operation, the shelter had an average of 25 guests. Among those who turned out to volunteer were elected representatives and some County leadership. Additionally, County staff assisted, providing cots and working with security staff to strengthen safety efforts at the shelter and the surrounding neighborhood. A big thank you is owed to staff at the Nevada County Probation Department's Juvenile Hall who have offered to launder all the shelter sleeping bags and blankets after the shelter event. This task has been a huge and costly effort for Sierra Roots volunteers in previous years.
The County wants to specifically acknowledge Sierra Roots volunteers who do all of the heavy lifting to provide this service to some of the most vulnerable residents of Nevada County. With the first opening of the shelter now behind us, County and Nevada City Staff and Sierra Roots will continue to coordinate to prepare for the next cold weather event.